Barstool Sportsbook debuted in Illinois with the launch of retail sportsbooks at Hollywood Casino Aurora and Hollywood Casino Joliet, both Penn National Gaming properties.
Now that Barstool Sportsbook is operational in a retail capacity, the launch of mobile betting should follow soon.
With launch day quickly approaching, we present this early Barstool Sportsbook review to introduce the brand to sports bettors in Illinois. This review will discuss what we know so far and will be updated as we learn more and again after mobile betting goes live.
Readers may also visit BarstoolSports.com/barstool-sportsbook in the meantime to register for e-mail updates and to be notified when mobile betting goes live.
The Barstool Sportsbook Rundown
- Established: 2020
- Mobile Apps: iOS and Android apps coming soon
- Website: To be announced
- Sports Covered: Will likely cover pro and college sports across the US and abroad
- Welcome Bonus: To be announced
- License Status: Approved (Penn Sports Interactive, LLC)
About Barstool Sportsbook
The Barstool Sportsbook brand comes to Illinois courtesy of a partnership between casino operator Penn National Gaming and sports media outlet Barstool Sports.
For those unfamiliar with Barstool Sports, the company serves as one of the nation’s major sports betting news, commentary and podcasting operations. Barstool Sports was established in 2003 by Dave Portnoy, who remains the outspoken and occasionally controversial public face of the company to this day.
In January 2020, Penn National Gaming acquired a 36% interest in Barstool Sports for $163 million in cash and stock as a part of a deal that would see Barstool Sports serve as Penn National’s official gaming provider.
At a glance, the partnership agreement appears to be a smart fit for both operators.
Barstool Sports brings with it a massive and dedicated userbase as a sports media outlet that logs upwards of 66 million unique visitors per month. With a large customer database, Barstool Sportsbook can hit the ground running and compete against major operators such as DraftKings and FanDuel that also have large userbases.
Meanwhile, Penn National Gaming provides market access as the parent company of properties in 19 states across the country. In Illinois, that means Barstool Sportsbook may operate off a sports betting license held by one of Penn National’s locations rather than opt for a more expensive online-only license.
Company officials have also hinted at offering more than just a simple sportsbook where customers go to log on, place bets and log off. Rather, Barstool Sportsbook intends to offer a more social experience with Barstool personalities interacting with customers, live events and more.
A Penn National presentation from early 2020 offers a preview of the partnership’s approach to the sports betting and gaming business:
- Penn National will leverage Barstool Sports’ brand name to promote its retail sportsbooks, mobile betting and online casino products
- Barstool Sportsbook provides Penn National a “complementary” audience that already has “a strong affinity for sports and gaming”
- Key Barstool Sports talent will be “highly incentivized” to grow Penn National’s business and minimize new customer acquisition costs
- Barstool will make use of its “key talent, live events and tailored content” to promote Penn National casinos
- Penn National will create a custom “omni-channel sports betting and casino ecosystem for retail and digital customers across the U.S.”
When Will Barstool Sportsbook Illinois Launch?
Barstool Sports CEO Erika Nardini told FOX Business in an interview this summer that the company aims to launch mobile betting in September.
The proposed launch date corresponds with the anticipated start of the NFL season, even in a year in which many things are still uncertain due to COVID-19 concerns.
Pennsylvania appears to be first on the list according to comments from Penn National and Barstool Sports insiders. Even if that holds true, Illinois will not be far behind as the company appear to have nearly everything in place to go live once approved by the Illinois Gaming Board (IGB).
Barstool Sportsbook Bonus
Barstool Sportsbook will likely offer a welcome bonus of some sort to all new customers as it will face no shortage of competition in Illinois.
What form that bonus will take remains to be seen, but common types of welcome offers seen in the industry include:
- A deposit match bonus: This would offer new customers an amount of cash or credit corresponding to the size of their first deposit. For example, the Barstool Sportsbook bonus could choose to offer a 100% up to $500 bonus that would effectively double each new user’s first deposit.
- Risk free bet offer: A risk-free bet offer would promise to refund each customer’s first wager with cash or site credit if it loses, up to a certain amount.
- No-deposit bonus: No-deposit bonuses tend to be smaller but offered in addition to a standard deposit bonus. As an example, Barstool Sports could opt to give all new users $10 free to place a bet just for registering an account.
Mobile App Review
Barstool Sportsbook will offer mobile betting from day one, but the company has issued few details on how the app will look and function. It is safe to bet apps will be provided for iOS and Android devices alike, along with a website for desktop betting.
If the existing Barstool Bets app is any preview of what’s to come, the Barstool Sportsbook app will be sleek, functional and easy to use. Details are lacking at the moment, but eventually the Barstool Sportsbook app is likely to offer standard wagering, in-game betting and certain social features to connect bettors with Barstool Sports personalities, content and highlights.
However, Penn Sports says it has an in-house product development for the Barstool Sports app. This means the end product will not be a simple reskin of Barstool Bets but rather an entirely new betting app built from the ground up.
Barstool Bets App
The Barstool Bets app functions as the company’s sports betting news and gambling entertainment arm
Users can download the Barstool Bets app to follow BSS personalities, read betting previews, listen to podcasts and participate in free-to-play contests for a chance to win real money. In states where online sports betting isn’t yet legal, Barstool Bets keeps fans involved and up to date legally.
Barstool Bets contests basically function as handicapping competitions but free to enter. For example, players might enter a contest covering a single NFL game and are given 1,000 points to place in-game “wagers” throughout the game. The contestants with largest points balances at the end earn real payouts.
Betting Markets and Types of Wagers
Barstool Sportsbook has not revealed the full extent of sports it will cover or wagering options it will provide, but we can reasonably guess it will feature a full menu of college and professional sports plus in-game wagering.
Regulations adopted by the IGB allow operators to accept wagers on most types of sports events. The most notable restrictions are that sportsbooks may not take bets on minor league sports or events involving Illinois colleges.
Barstool Sportsbook Deposit Methods
Which deposit methods Barstool Sportsbook will accept is also unknown at this early stage. However, Barstool Sportsbook customers will likely have a few options to choose from. Illinois regulations allow licensed operators to accept deposits via:
- Credit and debit cards: Visa and Mastercard will likely be accepted; Discover is a maybe
- Cash at the cage: Licensed betting sites are permitted to accept in-person deposits at the casino with which they are partnered
- Reloadable prepaid cards: Play+ is the most popular reloadable card used by the industry. It allows customers to fund their accounts online instantly similar to an e-wallet but also includes physical card that may be used wherever Discover is accepted. Customers may deposit online the same day they sign up and will receive the actual card in the mail later.
- Online banking: Transfer funds directly from a bank account to one’s betting account – free and instant.