Penn Q1 results; overall revenue down, ESPN Bet adjusted EBITDA loss hits $196m

Revenue and adjusted EBITDAR were down across the board, with ESPN Bet showing particularly sizeable costs.

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Penn Entertainment has reported its financial results for the first quarter of 2024. In total, the operator generated $1.61bn in revenue, with an adjusted EBITDAR of $256.2m, representing a decline of 3.9% and 46.4% year-on-year. Net income went from $514.4m in Q1 2023 to a loss of $114.9m in Q1 2024, with other key stats following similar declines. 

Operating income went from $199.1m to a loss of $21.4m, while total operating expenses grew by 10.5% to $1.63bn. In part, increased expenses can be attributed to ESPN Bet, which was launched in August last year following the reselling of Barstool to its Founder, Dave Portnoy, for $1 – despite paying $388m to acquire it in February 2023.  

Penn properties 

At a property level, Penn made $1.4bn in revenue, with adjusted EBITDAR of $479m (Penn Interactive/ESPN Bet reported an adjusted EBITDA loss of $196m among other factors, resulting in a total adjusted EBITDAR of $256.2m). 

The northeast segment, which includes properties such as Ameristar East Chicago, Hollywood Casino at Greektown and Plainridge Park Casino made $684.7m in revenue and $202.6m in adjusted EBITDAR, down 2.3% and 4.8% year-on-year respectively.  

The second-largest contributor to Penn’s property revenue was the south segment, with properties including Boomtown Biloxi, Hollywood Casino Gulf Coast and Margaritaville Resort Casino. This segment generated $298.5m, down $16.3m from last year, while adjusted EBITDAR fell by $10.1m to $113.5m.  

The midwest segment came slightly behind the south segment at $291.2m, down 1.4% year-on-year. Adjusted EBITDAR was also down, falling 6.8% annually. Properties in this segment include Hollywood Casino Aurora, Hollywood Casino Joliet and Ameristar Council Bluff, plus the operator's 50% investment in Kansas Entertainment. 

Lastly is the west segment, with properties including Ameristar Black Hawk, M Resort and Zia Park Casino. Revenue decline from this segment was marginal, down $0.9m to $128.8m, while adjusted EBITDAR fell 6.5% to $45.9m.  

The other segment, which includes stand-alone racing operations and overhead costs, made $6m in revenue – the only segment to see any annual growth, up $0.2m.  

Penn Interactive 

Penn Interactive includes all online and retail sports betting (ESPN Bet), online casino and social gaming operations. Revenue from this segment was $207.7m, down 11% year on year, while adjusted EBITDAR went from a loss of $5.7m to a loss of $196m – a significant increase.  

ESPN Bet would inevitably result in a loss in its early days and considering the fact that operators such as DraftKings have yet to report an overall profit from operations, having made an overall loss from operations of $43.8m in Q4 2023, may not for some time.  

However, with revenue down across the board and the operator still recovering from the financial loss accrued from acquiring Barstool (a timeline of events can be found in our March edition of Trafficology), the operator may struggle to compete if investments on ESPN Bet do not begin turning around soon. 

Despite this, ESPN Bet has remained active. In March, the sportsbook was added to North Carolina’s online sports betting market following its legalisation, while in April, the sportsbook opened its first retail location in Detroit at Hollywood Casino in Greektown. 

Comments 

On the results, CEO and President Jay Snowden said: “Our property level performance showed resilience this quarter... Meanwhile, ESPN BET continues to drive strong top of funnel demand due to the reach and affinity for the ESPN brand, which led to record online sports betting handle and iCasino gross gaming revenue in the quarter. However, Interactive segment results were negatively impacted primarily by unfavourable hold from major sporting events.” 


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