Penn National Aim To Attract Younger Generation

Jay Snowden, Penn National Gaming’s President and Chief Operating Officer, will become CEO of the company in January 2020, succeeding retired CEO Timothy Wilmott. He will run a corporation with an annual revenue of $5 billion, a portfolio of 40 casinos in 19 states, and two more casinos scheduled to open in late 2020 in Pennsylvania.

Snowden said these are exciting times in the business during an interview with PennLive, and viewed sports betting — the company is live in six states with that vertical — as a “great opportunity” to attract the younger generation: “Sports betters are younger, 21-45, and they tend to skew more male. We are skewing 50-plus and more female. Females tend to play slots more than males.” He noted that sports betting draws a younger and more male dominated customer demographic that also enjoys other casino services, such as table games and sports bars.

As for the online section, Snowden pointed out its September “ramp up” online casino business. He said there is a new customer who prefers interactive online deals as opposed to a land-based casino or sportsbook, and the business is seeing “a lot of new customers” joining the network in that way.

In building the online capabilities of Penn National, he identified a real high priority. “We are working on a sports betting app with which people can engage in 2020, where we can compete in the markets where we operate.” And he added: “Is there a sports media company or companies it would make sense to partner? We don’t have a sports betting brand to lead with for online sports betting. That’s another potential opportunity for us.” Asked about this last subject, he said Penn National has met with no fewer than fifteen different sports media companies, and it continues to talk.

In addition, the new CEO of Penn National said the organisation has technology committees that look at the changes casinos have to make in the next five to ten years: When (younger adults)do come to brick and mortar casinos for a nice meal or hotel stay, I think their expectations are going to be different. Our understanding will grow. Skill-based games are being tested right now that appeal to a Gen X consumer maybe more than the baby boomer. I think the experience on our property, the type of food we need to offer has to change.”

He also claimed that the slot machine balance is going to evolve as it is known today. And that will mean not only attracting a new generation of consumers, but keeping those customers as well.

Following Pinnacle Entertainment’s acquisition nearly a year ago, Snowden said the company’s priority over the next 18 months is not M&A but the deleveraging of the balance sheet, “aiming to be in the prime position in 2021 to pursue any opportunities that may be present as a company.”