Massachusetts sports betting: Plainridge Park license application hits wall

Massachusetts sports betting: Plainridge Park license application hits wall

The Massachusetts Gaming Commission has halted sports betting as the agency tasked with establishing the industry’s rules began reviewing its first license application. 

Members of the commission have identified a few concerning details regarding the casino’s application for a sports betting license, particularly its owner’s ties with Barstool Sports.

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Considering Applications for Casino-Based Sports Betting Licenses

The commission met on Tuesday to consider the first of three applications for casino-based sports betting licenses received last month. Plainridge Park Casino hopes to begin accepting wagers on professional and select collegiate sports by the end of January.

After it was revealed that Penn Entertainment, the parent company of Plainridge Park Casino and the company that would operate the sports betting platform at the venue, had recently acquired a controlling stake in Barstool Sports, commissioners reacted negatively to the application. The company has moved to acquire the company for $387 million in a deal that will be finalized early in the coming year.

Highlighting Barstool’s Sports Betting App and Branding

Through the partnership, Penn casinos now feature Barstool’s sports betting app and branding. However, a recent New York Times article highlighted the personal gambling issues of Barstool founder David Portnoy. The said person has been accused of sexual misconduct in the past. State regulators are concerned about the brand’s efforts to appeal to a younger demographic.

The Boston Herald reported that commission chair Kathy Judd-Stein stated at the meeting that the regulator is “at a crossroads due to the information presented to the company.” According to Commissioner Nakina Skinner, the elephant in the room is barstool sports.”

Press Release Statements Regarding Establishments 

Commissioners noted that Penn Entertainment when acquiring Barstool, disclosed that their association with the company and Portnoy could hinder their ability to conduct business. “None of the issues they are raising today are of a private nature,” Judd-Stein said, citing the Times’ reference to Portnoy’s September visit to Knoxville, Tennessee for a University of Tennessee football game as an example. Portnoy informed the audience that he placed $100,000 on Georgia.

The commission postponed a vote on approving Plainridge Park’s application for sports betting until a later date. Judd-Stein stated that despite the problem with Barstool, the casino could still receive approval because Penn’s presentation on responsible gaming was “excellent.”

In January of this year, the state legislature passed a bill legalizing sports betting, and regulators hope to have it operational at three properties in the state before the Super Bowl in February 2019. In the following weeks and months, other options, including mobile sports betting, could become available.

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About Lou De Aguila

Lou Aguila is a news and feature writer for Golden Casino News. For over a decade, Lou has published news and featured articles for some of the most reputable sports betting and online casino sites in the world, including BetNow.UK, VegasOdds, and BWin. Apart from being a hardcore live casino punter, he also covers sports stories in North American leagues from time to time.