Barstool, Dave Portnoy Concerns Hold Up Massachusetts Sports Betting Vote

Written By Giovanni Shorter on December 7, 2022
massachusetts sports betting

During a Massachusetts Gaming Commission public meeting, the commission reviewed retail sportsbook applications. Penn National’s Barstool Sportsbook was on the docket. The discussion surrounding the sportsbook’s founder and CEO Dave Portnoy led to lawmakers deferring the vote. Massachusetts sports betting legislators’ concern stemmed from a New York Times Article.

Penn National Holds Up Vote In Massachusetts

The vote has been differed to next week. In that time, lawmakers will determine if Plainridge Park Casino, owned by Penn National, will be granted a sports betting license. Barstool’s CEO was painted as a degenerate gambler in the article from Times.

“Industry watchdogs say that Mr. Portnoy, perhaps more than anyone else in the United States, is encouraging recklessness among his legions of followers,” wrote Emily Steel in the Nov. 20 New York Times article. “Most are young men, a group that researchers have found is at especially high risk of problem gaming.”

The concerns are focused on the integrity of the brand. Penn National and Plainridge Park Casino are closely associated with the Barstool brand and the MGC questions if it wants that brand in the Bay State. Plainridge is one of three casinos allowed to offer sports betting. Should they not be granted a license, it would only be two retail sportsbooks available in Massachusetts.

Likelihood Of Plainridge Losing Out On The License

What is likely to occur is that members from Barstool Sportsbook and Penn National will meet with MGC legislators. Both sides want retail Massachusetts sports betting to go live and the MGC will want more options for residents.

In addition, Barstool will be aiming for a Massachusetts online sportsbook license as well. Solving the concerns here could save time in the future. Penn National will be working diligently to secure the retail license. The concerns were real enough to delay the vote, so it is possible for legislators to vote against Barstool.

For now, the MGC continues to meet to discuss the future of sports betting. Today’s meeting reviews other applications from the remaining two retail operations. Once retail applications are issued, the MGC will shift its focus to bringing online sportsbooks to residents.

Giovanni Shorter Avatar
Written by
Giovanni Shorter

Giovanni Shorter is a sports enthusiast and writer with a passion for the legal and industry side of the sports betting market. Giovanni got his education from Florida State University where he honed his writing style writing narratives and short stories. He has spent his professional career covering sports and entertainment through articles and blogs and continues to look at the industry from multiple angles.

View all posts by Giovanni Shorter