State gambling regulators are investigating Barstool owner Dave Portnoy for sexual misconduct allegations amidst the company’s sale to Penn National Gaming. [Image: Flickr.com/Zach Catanzareti Photo]
Portnoy, Barstool under fire
Gambling regulators in Nevada and Indiana are investigating sexual misconduct claims centered around Barstool founder Dave Portnoy.
The investigation comes as Penn National Gaming (PNG), a minority owner of Barstool, is looking to fully acquire the pop culture and sports media company, as well as its sportsbook. The Barstool sportsbook is active in Indiana, and PNG operates casinos in both states.
Nevada Gaming Control Board chairman Brin Gibson shared his mission as the head of the board in a statement to the Wall Street Journal.
protect the reputation of the state and the reputation of the state’s gaming industry”
“[Our duty] is to protect the reputation of the state and the reputation of the state’s gaming industry,” said Gibson.
Dave Portnoy’s history of allegations
The investigation comes off the back of multiple sexual misconduct claims levied against Portnoy in recent months.
The 44-year-old has become extremely popular with many crowds, especially in the younger generation. His company dabbles in reporting, podcasting, and betting, which makes him especially popular with this demographic.
Brin Gibson shared that he previously requested information about Portnoy from Penn during a public board meeting in December; this was motivated by allegations of rough sex that caused Penn’s shares to drop over 20%.
Multiple women also claimed that the Barstool owner filmed them during the incidents without permission.
the encounters turned into frightening and humiliating experiences”
“Some women, as young as 19 who had no professional connection to Portnoy, recounted having sexually explicit online exchanges with him,” said Julia Black, to an investigative reporter. “Three of these women said they had sex with Portnoy, now 44, and that the encounters turned into frightening and humiliating experiences that have taken a toll on their mental health.”
The Indiana Gaming Commission also launched an investigation into Penn and Barstool “related to the recent news articles about Mr. Portnoy.”
Portnoy has vehemently denied the claims brought forth by the women in question, responding with multiple video clips and statements. He also stands on all sexual encounters and videotaping being consensual.
The Barstool owner is suing Julia Black for her reporting on the story.
Penn National Gaming remains committed to assisting the investigations in Nevada and Indiana. Chief Executive Jay Snowden said that Penn has answered every question and is continually updating both parties with new information.
Penn still plans to proceed with the acquisition of Barstool.
Penn’s plan to buy Barstool
PNG’s purchase of Barstool is its attempt to expand its reach on the back of Barstool’s online popularity. With other dominant companies and sportsbooks stealing large portions of the market, Penn views the acquisition as a way to take control of the gambling space.
Penn also hopes that the acquisition will reduce the need for advertising costs, which have doomed several competitors.
Barstool grew its online presence by over 25% last year and made massive progress in new fields, most notably by landing the broadcasting rights to the Arizona Bowl. The game was cancelled, however, because of a COVID-19 outbreak among players at one of the participating schools.
“They’re profitable, which is rare for a lot of digital media businesses,” said Snowden. “They’ve delivered on what they said they would do.”