Penn National Gaming plunged 21% Thursday after it fell short of earnings estimates. However, that wasn’t the only reason. Business Insider published allegations of sexual misconduct against Dave Portnoy, the founder of Barstool Sports, of which Penn owns a significant piece
Penn National PR Team Working Overtime
Penn operates racetracks and casinos. It also owns 36% of Barstool Sports. Penn plans to use the Barstool brand for online and retail betting on sports and the opening of sports bars across the country.
Penn reported third-quarter earnings on Thursday morning. After that, its stock plunged sharply from Wednesday’s close of $72.73 down to $65.67 when Insider published its story about Portnoy. That drop equates to a market value loss of $2.5 billion.
Insider learned that three women claimed they were involved in violent consensual sexual sex with Portnoy. The experience “turned into frightening and humiliating experiences that have taken a toll on their mental health,” according to the media outlet. Two of the women claimed that he choked them, and that they were filmed without their consent.
Portnoy Rejects the Claims
Portnoy denied the allegations. His attorney told Insider via email that the claims of the women “embody half-truths,” were highly misleading and lacking context. The claims also appear to have been made by people whose motives and trustworthiness should have been thoroughly vetted. Portnoy also denied these allegations in videos shared on Tweet, calling the encounters in the story consensual.
Insider’s report was published, and Penn stock fell further. It closed the day at $57.40. This is the lowest price it has been in more than a year. An attempt to have Penn weigh in on its performance and the allegations were largely unsuccessful; however, Penn has indicated that it is “gathering facts” and that it “takes this matter seriously.”
This isn’t the first time Portnoy has come under fire, although most of the previous incidents were tame compared to this, if the allegations are true. Portnoy has been accused of creating a “misogynistic” workplace atmosphere and for being crass with certain employees. His antics have proven popular with some people and are, in part, responsible for the meteoric rise of Barstool.
Not everyone has been amused, though, and the company has been seen as a pariah by some. The University of Louisville prohibits athletes from partnering with Barstool in Name, Image and Likeness (NIL) deals because of its reputation. After it was announced that Barstool purchased the naming rights to the Arizona Bowl, the annual NCAA football competition played at the University of Arizona, to brand it the Barstool Sports Arizona Bowl. That led the Pima County Board of Supervisors to cancel $40,000 in funding for the game. The university is located in the county.