The Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC) has cancelled an adjudicatory hearing scheduled for Tuesday regarding Barstool. The announcement came in a public meeting on Monday.
In March after the launch of online sports betting in Massachusetts, Barstool used the phrase “Can’t Lose Parlay” as part of its programming with on-air personality Dan Katz, also known as “Big Cat.”
Following a notice from the MGC over concerns from the phrase being used in the state, Barstool ceased using “Can’t Lose Parlay” in messaging in Massachusetts and other states.
Responsible gambling concerns with Barstool
Massachusetts has guidelines under its responsible gaming procedures that prohibit the use of misleading language in sports betting advertising or messaging. That includes the use of words like “free,” “risk-free,” and “can’t lose.”
The MGC has held two adjudicatory hearings on sports betting operators allegedly accepting bets on prohibited sports, but has not held such a meeting specifically on responsible gaming violations.
The MGC did not indicate whether the commission or investigative branch needed more time and would reschedule an adjudicatory hearing, or if the hearing will not be held at all. Under Massachusetts gaming law, Barstool could waive the right to an adjudicatory hearing, and accept any punishment for a violation, if the commission finds against them.
Barstool previously fined in Ohio
Barstool was founded in Massachusetts by David Portnoy in 2003. The company was purchased by PENN Entertainment in February, and the sports operating license is issued to PENN, operating under the Barstool brand.
In February, PENN Entertainment paid a $250,000 fine to Ohio after Barstool promoted its sportsbook app near University of Toledo. Such a promotion, which included a live appearance by Barstool personalities near campus, broke Ohio sports gaming laws.
Barstool Sportsbook was awarded one of the few sports betting operator licenses earlier this year and entered the market on in January with a retail sportsbook at Plainridge Park Casino in Plainville. The Barstool Sportsbook mobile app launched in Massachusetts on March 10.
In January, Penn and Barstool were grilled by the MGC in a lively public hearing over the controversial nature of Portnoy and his brand. In the past, Portnoy has been linked to allegations of sexual assault, a lack of accountability toward responsible gambling, and tax problems. Despite the grilling by MGC members, Portnoy, Barstool, and Penn were approved for a license following a private session.
The MGC will meet again on Tuesday, April 25 at 6 p.m. in a session open for public comment. The topic will be the proposed development adjacent to Encore Boston Harbor on the east side of Broadway in Everett.
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