The Barstool Sports sportsbook does not have Nevada licensing. But, that isn’t stopping the Nevada Gaming Control Board (NGCB) from scrutinizing the company. According to CDC Gaming Reports, it has asked Penn National Gaming, its partner casino, about recent events involving founder Dave Portnoy, who has been accused of misconduct and sexual harassment.
Barstool Under Fire in Nevada
Brin Gibson, the chair of the NGCB, is concerned about an article published in Insider.com in November detailing allegations made against Dave Portnoy regarding sexual harassment claims and misconduct. Portnoy denied all the claims made in the article. He used social media and other channels as a means to criticize the author of the article. In typical Portnoy fashion, he also criticized the fact that the owner of the website is from Germany.
Penn National, which suffered a stock drop following the publication of the article, is licensed in Nevada to operate M Resort at Henderson and two Jackpot Casinos in northern Nevada, and it is currently ending its stewardship over Tropicana Las Vegas. The company operates 41 casinos in 20 States and acquired 36% of Barstool in January 2020 for $163 million.
Penn launched its digital gaming business under the Barstool name last year. The mobile sports betting app can be found in 10 states. In addition, the company has rebranded several Midwest-based retail sportsbooks to Barstool-themed ones. Jay Snowden of Penn National, the CEO, said that the company was focusing on Canada after its $2 billion acquisition.
Barstool Avoids Nevada
Nevada has never been mentioned as a possible location for Barstool by Penn National executives. Portnoy is not licensed by any state gaming regulator body. Barstool has an app available in Arizona, where they are the title sponsor of the Arizona Bowl. Gibson, however, still wants Penn National’s answers to a few questions concerning the allegations.
Gibson reportedly told Felicia Hendrix, Penn National’s chief financial officer, during her Las Vegas licensing hearing, “I want to make sure that you understand that I am concerned with Barstool Sports. I’ve sent your company a request for information on the vetting of those issues by your compliance committee. I’d like to see the report by the date that I noted. I would appreciate that.”
Hendrix was unanimously approved by the board to be licensed. She said she would investigate further. Gibson was informed by A.G. Burnett, her attorney and former chair of the NGCB, about Penn National’s “working” on Gibson’s request.
Portnoy has a colorful history, which is part of the reason Barstool became successful. He has led several charitable initiatives over the years but also isn’t afraid to speak his mind. His sometimes cringe-worthy public outbursts, however, haven’t slowed the company down. Portnoy used his social channels last year to blast gaming analysts and critics of Penn National, including Carlo Santarelli from Deutsche Bank.