Transforming Data Architecture for Penn Entertainment

Data StrategyAWSAzureData Warehouse/LakehousePowerBISports and Gaming


Penn Entertainment, a leading North American entertainment provider specializing in gaming and betting, engaged Blue Orange Digital to evaluate their existing on-premise and cloud infrastructure. The goal was to develop a hybrid data architecture to scale and meet future growth demands effectively.


Penn Entertainment faced significant challenges in data sharing across teams due to the use of disparate reporting tools, which hindered real-time report sharing and collaboration. This lack of unified strategy led to inefficiencies, slower performance, and missed opportunities. Additionally, the company’s existing analytics setup was limited to diagnostic analytics, which restricted their forecasting capabilities and understanding of Customer Lifetime Value (CLTV).

Project Goals

The project aimed to create a modern, scalable hybrid data architecture that would:

  • Facilitate seamless data sharing across different teams and platforms. 
  • Transition from diagnostic to predictive analytics to enhance forecasting and decision-making. Optimize internal processes to improve data management and reduce costs. 

The Solution

Blue Orange Digital initiated the project with a comprehensive audit involving six workshops with key stakeholders to identify the pain points and desired outcomes. This deep dive helped in understanding the existing data infrastructure, team dynamics, and the technological landscape.


Blue Orange proposed a hybrid cloud architecture that would improve data sharing while being cloud-agnostic. Key technologies included Microsoft Polybase for data management, AWS VPC Peering for secure networking, and cloud platform features tailored to Penn Entertainment’s needs. 

The strategy involved:

  • Enhancing data sharing capabilities between Penn Entertainment and its interactive division using advanced cloud solutions. 
  • Integrating a layer of Machine Learning (ML) to enable predictive analytics and data-driven decision-making. 
  • Migrating Data Science & Analytics and Research teams to the cloud, which allowed for native, direct sharing and collaboration. 


The implementation focused on creating a unified data-sharing approach where data duplication was minimized and data transfer workflows were optimized for cost and performance. Azure was chosen as the primary cloud platform due to its robust support for hybrid deployments and security features.


With Blue Orange’s expertise, Penn Entertainment successfully overcame their data sharing and analytics challenges, leading to several impactful outcomes:

  • Enhanced internal and external data sharing capabilities, facilitating better collaboration and data accessibility. 
  • Significant improvements in predictive analytics capabilities, with Penn’s marketing team predicting over 40 percent more potential churners, aiding in effective customer segmentation and targeted marketing strategies. 
  • Optimized marketing budgets based on CLTV assessments, leading to reduced churn and increased customer engagement.
  • Cost-effective solutions with a focus on compliance and reducing hidden costs associated with cloud platforms. 

Technologies Used

  • Microsoft Polybase: Enabled efficient data management across hybrid environments. 
  • AWS VPC Peering: Facilitated secure and reliable interconnectivity between different cloud resources. 
  • Azure: Provided a comprehensive suite of cloud services that supported the hybrid data architecture. 
  • Machine Learning Tools: Including Amazon EMR, Dexter, and PySpark were employed to enhance predictive analytics and data processing capabilities.


The partnership with Blue Orange Digital allowed Penn Entertainment to modernize their IT infrastructure, enhancing their ability to leverage data for strategic decision-making and operational efficiency. The new hybrid cloud environment not only optimized current operations but also positioned Penn Entertainment for sustainable growth and innovation in the competitive entertainment industry.