When it comes to one of its MA sports betting promotions in particular, the joke might be on Barstool Sportsbook.
The Massachusetts Gaming Commission ruled Wednesday it will have an adjudicatory hearing concerning a Barstool personality’s promotion “Can’t Lose Parlays” in the MA sports betting market.
Barstool parent company Penn Entertainment has halted indefinitely its usage of the “Can’t Lose” promotion.
The “Can’t Lose Parlay” wager belongs to Dan Katz, better known as “Big Cat.”
MA sports betting promo ‘meant to be funny’
Penn CEO Jay Snowden previously told state regulators that the “Can’t Lose” branding was an attempt at humor.
“It’s meant to be funny, it’s not meant to be pushing something viewed as ‘can’t lose,’” Snowden said. “He’s one of the worst gamblers in the world.”
State regulators have not found it to as funny as Snowden.
Massachusetts features some of the strictest advertising regulations in the country.
MA sports betting issue timeline
The matter was brought to the attention of the MGC, mostly through media inquiries. The parlay had been offered following the state’s March 10 online sports betting launch, on NCAA college basketball games.
Penn VP and chief compliance officer Chris Soriano reached out to the Investigations and Enforcement Bureau to discuss the matter.
Explained IEB director Loretta Lillios:
“The area of concern right now is whether the ‘Can’t Lose’ aspect of the promotion runs afoul of statutory and regulatory language concerning consumer protections.”
“Penn did inform the IEB that they would voluntarily discontinue offering any ‘Can’t Lose’ wagers in Massachusetts or elsewhere for the time being. So right now, no ‘Can’t Lose’ wagers are being promoted by Penn.”
How Big Cat can bet with Barstool
Katz is allowed to bet on Barstool Sportsbook because he is technically not an employee of Penn Entertainment. Penn completed its full acquisition of Barstool earlier this year.
Rather, he is operating on a “loan-out agreement” according to a Penn spokesperson.
Prohibiting employees to bet on their own sportsbook is a fairly standard rule across the country.
State regulators on Penn, Barstool deal
IEB previously launched a suitability review concerning Barstool during its licensing hearing earlier this year.
“What I am struggling with is marrying that brand with (Plainridge Park Casino’s) sportsbook, which you have elected to brand Barstool, which you elected to do because it gave you the market share and everything else that came with Barstool Sports,” Commissioner Eileen O’Brien said.
Snowden responded, “You want this, we’re fine with this. Let’s come with language that we can all move forward with. As long as we get our temporary licenses, we can move forward with January and March launches.”