Pennsylvania-based Penn National Gaming (PNG) has prompted speculation that it is mulling a corporate identity overhaul.
Trademark attorney Josh Gerben broke the news that PNG could be seeking a rebranding. Gerben says Penn National recently filed 15 trademark applications for “Penn Entertainment” and “Penn Entertainment & Media.”
Penn National Gaming appears to be headed for a rebrand.
— Josh Gerben (@JoshGerben) March 11, 2022
The filings include international patent classifications for “downloadable mobile applications for playing casino games, sports betting, live-action betting games, and off-track betting.” The applications also seek trademarks for the aforementioned names for “casino services” and restaurant, bar, café, and hotel services.
Penn National Gaming is today one of the nation’s largest operators of regional casinos — i.e., not in Las Vegas or Atlantic City. The company’s origins trace back to the late 1960s with the development of the Penn National Race Course outside of Harrisburg.
Penn National Race Course Corp. was rebranded to Penn National Gaming in 1994.
The Penn National Gaming rename rumors come as shares of the Hollywood casino operator have dropped significantly over the past 12 months.
At this time last year, PNG shares (NASDAQ: PENN) were trading around $135. Today, those shares are just $44 — a 67% year-over-year loss.
PNG has been on a spending spree in recent years. The company in 2020 agreed to acquire a 36% stake in Barstool Sports for $163 million. Penn reported last month that its primary iGaming and sportsbook interactive platform lost $6 million on $150 million in revenue last year. The company projects its online betting unit to lose $50 million in 2022.
Last August, Penn agreed to spend $2 billion in cash and equity to acquire Score Media and Gaming, a Canadian digital media and gaming firm.
The stock slide shows investors aren’t optimistic about the company’s near-term growth outlook. PNG believes Wall Street is wrong, and announced last month that it would repurchase $750 million worth of its own shares. Casino.org’s financial guru Todd Shriber summarized that the share buyback potentially signals to investors that Penn “views its stock as undervalued.”
Penn National Gaming has the nation’s largest regional gaming footprint with 44 properties across 20 states. Penn’s “mychoice” loyalty rewards program counts more than 24 million members.
Changing its corporate identity would be a major decision. Companies do so for a variety of reasons, whether it be to better reflect their business focus or to distance from scandal or turbulent dealings. But switches can also simply be a chance to freshen the brand.
“Changing brands and legacy companies are well aware that, if they want to survive and sell to the next generation of customers, they need to rebrand,” explains a “Knowledge@Wharton” marketing column from the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. “Whether it’s one product category or an entire image overhaul, rebranding can help communicate a different message to consumers in an era when the message matters.”
PNG has not commented publicly on the rebranding rumors. But another major gaming firm — Scientific Games — announced earlier this month that it’s changing its corporate identity to “Light & Wonder.”
“It’s a chance for us to start afresh. We have a new set of values, a new strategy, and a new financial profile,” said Matt Wilson, Light & Wonder Gaming CEO.
Light & Wonder sold off its lottery and sports betting businesses last year to focus on its retail manufacturing and iGaming innovation.
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