PENN Entertainment, which owns Barstool Sportsbook and operates several casino, racetrack and sports betting properties across North America, has announced an expansion of its Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Scholarship Program.
With Ohio sports betting set to launch on Jan. 1, Barstool has embarked on a major expansion into the Ohio market.
The STEM program, which awards scholarships to students at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) in states in which PENN does business, has added three new partner universities, PENN recently announced. One of Ohio’s HBCUs, Wilberforce University, was among three initial schools taking part in the program. Wilberforce is about 20 miles east of Dayton, Ohio.
The new partners are Prairie View A&M University in Prairie View, Texas; Jackson State University in Jackson, Mississippi; and Southern University and A&M College in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. PENN’s STEM program launched in November of 2021 with three universities: Wilberforce in Ohio; Norfolk State University in Norfolk, Virginia; and Bowie State University in Bowie, Maryland.
STEM program helps PENN champion diversity throughout its businesses
PENN Entertainment (which changed its name from Penn National Gaming earlier this year) has committed over $4 million to the program over the next five years. The program also includes internship opportunities at PENN’s businesses
“As a company at the forefront of technology, we launched this program as a way to increase access to STEM opportunities for HBCU students and create real-world, hands-on learning experiences,” said Justin Carter, PENN Entertainment’s Senior Vice President of Regional Operations and chairman of the PENN’s Diversity Committee.
“The addition of these three esteemed universities deepens our widespread support for HBCUs and expands our efforts to champion diversity, equity and inclusion in the communities where we operate. STEM careers make up a growing share of jobs in today’s economy, and we are committed to narrowing the representation gap in STEM fields and empowering students in this program for years to come.”
Barstool Sportsbook to expand PENN’s footprint in Ohio
Currently operating 43 businesses in 20 states, PENN Entertainment properties include the L’Auberge hotel/casinos, as well as the Toronto-based theScore Bet Sportsbook and theScore sports media company.
In Ohio, PENN operates Hollywood Casino venues in Columbus, Toledo, Youngstown and Dayton.
In August, PENN ensured a major sports betting marketplace expansion in Ohio — and across the entire U.S. — when it moved forward on a $387 million deal to take over full ownership of Barstool Sports, which includes that company’s media entities as well as its retail and online sportsbook operations. (PENN previously had a 36% stake in the company.) The deal is expected to be finalized in early 2023.
The commission also approved Barstool Sportsbook for retail sports betting licenses. Barstool will manage the retail sportsbooks at PENN’s four Hollywood-branded properties in Ohio: Hollywood Casino Columbus; Hollywood Gaming Dayton Raceway; Hollywood Casino Toledo; and Hollywood Gaming at Mahoning Valley in Youngstown.
STEM program is the latest initiative from PENN’s Diversity Committee
PENN’s STEM partnership with HBCUs is an extension of the company’s commitment to inclusion and diversity. PENN’s Diversity Committee launched in 2020 and includes PENN employees from a broad range of backgrounds. The committee helped create PENN’s Diversity Scholarship Program, which annually awards $1 million in scholarships to children of PENN employees.
“Increasing access to STEM opportunities for HBCU students is another important step to promote social and economic equity, as well as diversity, inclusion and belonging,” PENN Entertainment President and CEO Jay Snowden said last year during the announcement of the STEM/HBCU program’s launch.
“Penn National is well positioned to be North America’s leading digital, entertainment, sports content, gaming, and technology company, and we look forward to supplementing these scholarships with real-life technical skills development for the STEM internship recipients.”