MA Sports Betting Regulators Probe Penn About Barstool Brand

Written By

Updated on

MA sports betting

Penn Entertainment continues to answer questions from MA sports betting regulators about Barstool Sportsbook months after Penn severed its relationship with the controversial brand.

At a public hearing Monday, the Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC) expressed concerns that the Barstool Sportsbook website still features the Barstool logo and its personalities.

Penn is currently transitioning its wagering platform to feature ESPN branding, its new sports betting partner.

Chief Compliance Officer Chris Soriano explained to Massachusetts sports betting regulators that updating its branding and documents to reflect ESPN Bet and remove mention of Barstool Sportsbook was the easiest path forward to complete the change-over.

Providing assurances to MA sports betting regulators

Barstool still holds the MA sports betting vendor license and accepts bets in Massachusetts. Soriano assured the MGC that Penn is no longer actively marketing the Barstool brand.

Penn’s goal remains to have ESPN Bet branding in place in November. Soriano did not provide a specific date during Monday’s meeting.

He also added there will be no connection between Penn and Barstool once ESPN Bet goes live.

Long list of MA sports betting questions about Barstool

According to meeting documents, the Investigations and Enforcement Bureau (IEB) put Barstool and Penn under the microscope over Barstool’s college football show.

While Monday’s discussion was primarily held in executive session, Barstool did previously agree to cooperate in a review of its branding. It also agreed to prevent anyone under 21 from attending its live college football shows.

ESPN’s College GameDay is a popular college football show the network has hosted for decades. It is unclear if the exact condition will apply to ESPN if it hosts a college football show in the Bay State.

Earlier this year, the Ohio Casino Control Commission fined Penn $250,000 after Barstool hosted its college football show at the University of Toledo and advertised the sportsbook to people under 21.

Public comments raise additional questions

The IEB also took a closer look at recent comments from Barstool founder Dave Portnoy after he publicly disagreed with Penn’s firing of a Barstool employee. Portnoy also commented publicly about salary negotiations with another staff member.

Soriano reassured MA sports betting regulators Monday that Portnoy had no leadership role at Penn. He told the MGC Portnoy was never part of any personnel conversations after Penn took over Barstool Sports in February.

Penn and Barstool cut ties in August, though these Massachusetts sports betting issues were raised before the two entities split.

MA sports betting regulators rule on stadium ads

MA sports betting regulators are giving DraftKings more time to update the sportsbook’s signage at Fenway Park and TD Garden.

The MGC ruled in July that “21 and over” language appear on all standalone sports betting logos at the stadiums.

DraftKings must update its billboard above the Green Monster by November 20. Floor signage at TD Garden must be updated by December 1.

The MGC granted a permanent waiver for signage at the DraftKings Sports Zone restaurant at Gillette Stadium. DraftKings argued the restaurant is open to all ages and adding “21+” to its logo would cause confusion for customers.