A national casino operator is betting the popular but controversial website Barstool Sports can be the face of its sports betting efforts.
Penn National Gaming said Wednesday it has acquired a 36% interest in the company, which was founded in suburban Boston in 2003, for about $163 million.
The Pennsylvania company says it will then increase its ownership stake in Barstool Sports to approximately 50% after three years and additional investment.
Penn National Gaming will also gain the sole right to use the Barstool Sports brand in its online and retail sports betting products as the company's exclusive gaming partner for up to 40 years.
The company said in a statement it's hoping the partnership helps it appeal to a newer, younger demographic.
Penn National Gaming operates 41 properties in 19 states, including Plainridge Park, a slot parlor and harness racing track in Plainville, Massachusetts, near the Rhode Island state line.
Barstool Sports was founded in 2003 as a Boston-area print publication focused on fantasy sports and sports betting before evolving into a broader sports and pop culture website with an intentionally abrasive style that's gained a loyal, mostly male following.
It was acquired in 2016 by The Chernin Group, a New York-based media holding company.