Weekend Report: Penn, Caesars shares rise after investor comments

Investor letter sparks Penn stock rise

After a Penn Entertainment shareholder sent a letter urging Penn to sell assets last week, the company’s shares rose by 20% on the New York Stock Exchange to $17.50 as the market showed confidence over change at the company.

On Friday, the Donerail Group, a shareholder of Penn Entertainment, sent a letter calling for the company to generate “meaningful and certain” value creation by selling assets.

Donerail’s letter stated Penn’s shares were down 80% over the past three years. Donerail criticised Penn’s interactive strategy and condemned the $99.3m (£78.2m/€91.6m) in agreed compensation for chief executive Jay Snowden between 2020 and 2023.

Icahn’s Caesars stake instigates share rise

On Friday, Bloomberg News revealed activist investor Carl Icahn held “sizeable” stock in Caesars Entertainment.

Caesars shares increased by 15% following the report of Icahn building his stock in Caesars.

In 2019, Icahn pushed for Caesars to either merge or sell itself. The following July, Eldorado Resorts completed an acquisition and merger with Caesars.

State exec pushing for Alabama special session

David Bronner, chief executive of Retirement Systems of Alabama (RSA), has urged the state’s governor, Kay Ivey, to call a special session on gambling.

As reported by 1819 News, Bronner believes the legalisation of gambling would bring welcome revenue to Alabama.

“I am asking each member of the RSA to encourage Governor Ivey to continue to make Alabama a little better and get the essential funds to continue improving the state with a special session on gaming,” he said.

Ivey has indicated she has no plans to call for a special gambling session. In May, a house bill to legalise digital and retail sports betting failed in the senate. Three of Alabama’s bordering states offer a form of legalised betting.

Pritzer: Illinois tax rise about paying “fair share”

Illinois’ governor, JB Pritzker, believes the proposed gambling tax rise in the state will lead to companies paying their “fair share”, believing larger operators won’t decide to halt operations in the state.

Last week, Illinois’ general assembly sent a FY2025 budget to Governor Pritzker with a progressive gambling tax rate topping out at 40%.

The rise from the current 15% rate to 40% for top operators has led to questions of whether the likes of DraftKings and FanDuel will continue to operate in the state.

A Pritzker spokesperson told the Chicago Sun Times: “Governor Pritzker believes corporations should pay their fair share in Illinois. Now, thanks to these adjustments, which put the state in line with similarly sized markets, they will.”

England cricketer banned for betting offences

England cricketer Brydon Carse has received a three-month ban for breaching betting rules.

Carse, who last played for England in December, was found to have made 303 bets. None of the bets involved games in which Carse played.

While his total ban is 16 months, 13 of those will be made up by a suspended sentence and therefore he could be eligible to play again in August.

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