Barstool Looks To Make Waves In Illinois Sports Betting With theScore Bet’s Tech

Written By C.J. Pierre on May 26, 2023
Smart phone and tech

Penn Entertainment continues to make moves in the state of Illinois. The company is relocating its Illinois riverboat casinos to land. The new properties will also be home to two new Barstool Retail Sportsbooks.

Penn recently acquired Barstool’s remaining assets for $388 million, including its media productions, live events, sportsbooks and online casinos. The purchase comes three years after Penn bought 36% of the company in 2020.

As Barstool looks to reinvent itself in the Illinois sports betting market with some revamped retail locations, some wonder if the operator can still make waves with its online sports betting sites. They may be able to do so with the help of Penn’s other sports betting operator, theScore Bet.

Barstool getting help with its tech stack from theScore Bet

Last year, Penn successfully migrated theScore Bet brand in Ontario to its in-house risk and trading platform. Meaning theScore Bet operates entirely on its own technology stack in the Ontario sports betting market.

TheScore Bet uses its own Player Account Management (PAM) system and Promotion Engine, giving the operator complete control over its own lines in Ontario. As a result, it can significantly increase its product scope, including more in-play markets and props.

So how does this apply to Barstool sportsbook Illinois? Well, with Penn acquiring Barstool’s sports betting platform, it can now transition to the same tech stack. This means Barstool would be operating on a system where all components are custom-built to work together to maximize speed and efficiency and supercharges the ability to roll out new features, wagering options and innovations seamlessly.

Tech stack transition could be a big challenge for Penn

Penn hopes to migrate the Barstool Sportsbook in the US to the same tech stack as theScore Bet this fall. However, it won’t be an easy task.

Barstool is live in 12 US states, including Illinois. Penn engineers must essentially rebuild the current Barstool Sportsbook product (built on Kambi and White Hat) on theScore Bet platform. They must then get the platform approved by regulators in every state.

Avi Howard, the CEO of gambling tech firm USAbility, says migrating 12-plus sites in the span of about a year in a heavily regulated environment is no easy feat.

“Technology teams often seem too confident with delivery dates of such large transformations, without having gone through similar projects before,” said Howard. “These are the projects most CTOs might do once in their career. Experience in migrations is crucial if you want to make it a success. This is even more important in the case of public company under the eyes of shareholders. Failure is not an option.”

To give an idea of how difficult this will be, it took Caesars Sportsbook 18 months to move onto the William Hill platform. Some states are still not migrated, hinting at the hassle involved. Meanwhile, DraftKings’ move to SBTech took around 15 months. That move still resulted in several hiccups for the consumer initially.

Will this help Barstool move up the Illinois sports betting rankings?

A PlayIllinois analysis found that the Barstool Sportsbook ranked sixth out of seven Illinois sports betting operators in both lifetime handle (5.5% of the total market) and revenue (4.3% of the market).

While that is well behind DraftKings and FanDuel, the operator is not that far away from the fourth spot held by PointsBet (7.7% of total handle, 7.3% of revenue).

It remains to be seen if the tech stack transition will appeal to more customers. But the switch might also give Barstool Sportsbook a much-needed shot in the arm. The brand has a 5% share of net gaming revenue in markets that report that number, which falls short of the operator’s initial goals.

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C.J. Pierre

C.J. Pierre is a Lead Writer at Play Illinois. He has been covering news and sports for over a decade for both online and TV broadcasts. He was born and raised in Minneapolis, MN and is an alum of Minnesota State University: Moorhead. He recently dove into tribal casino and online gambling news. He also covered the launch of sports betting in Arizona. C.J. has experience as a reporter and videographer and has covered high school, college and professional sports throughout his career, most notably following Arizona Cardinals, Phoenix Suns, Minnesota Vikings and North Dakota State University football.

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