Indiana Gaming Commission Investigating Barstool After Portnoy Allegations

Posted on March 22, 2022

The Indiana Gaming Commission (IGC) has launched an investigation into Penn National Gaming and Barstool Sports. The move comes in response to sexual assault allegations against Barstool Founder Dave Portnoy.

This marks the first major problem with an Indiana sports betting company since wagering began back in 2019.

Portnoy allegations

Business Insider published an investigation into Portnoy late last year. Multiple women accused the businessman of sexual misconduct in that report.

Portnoy has since denied any wrongdoing and filed a defamation lawsuit in response to the investigation.

Despite that, the IGC and regulators from Nevada are now conducting their own investigations. That could eventually end with Barstool and Penn losing their respective gaming licenses in the Hoosier State.

Penn owns a 36% stake of Barstool and plans to purchase the rest of the company in the near future.

The IGC is in the early stages of its investigation, but it’s no surprise that the commission is looking into things given the recent Spectacel scandal. That entire situation went on for months and left a sour taste in the mouths of Indiana lawmakers.

“The commission is conducting a review of this matter as it pertains to Penn’s responsibilities as a licensee. Penn is aware of the IGC’s ongoing concerns and we will continue to evaluate any new information that emerges,” the IGC said in a statement.

Barstool is no stranger to controversy. However, this could end up being the brand’s first big hit from regulators.

Losing its Indiana license would cost Penn millions. That’s obviously a situation that the company is hoping to avoid.

Indiana Barstool Investigation

Since Penn owns a big chunk of Indiana’s industry, the IGC will have a lot to handle with its investigation.

Barstool’s sports betting app has been taking wagers in Indiana for almost a year now. The online sportsbook opened for business back in May of 2021.

Penn also owns two casinos in Indiana: Ameristar East Chicago and Hollywood Casino Lawrenceburg. Each of those casinos also features an in-person Barstool Sportsbook.

The retail book at Hollywood is one of the most popular sportsbooks in the entire country outside of Nevada. The sportsbook took in nearly $10.5 million worth of wagers last month, which was over $6 million higher than second place’s haul.

Hollywood benefits from its proximity to Cincinnati. It’s an easy option for Ohio gamblers that don’t have legal online sportsbooks they can use yet.

Penn and Barstool have ties to some important parts of Indiana gaming, so the IGC is looking into all of the company’s assets in the state.

There’s no telling how long the commission’s investigation will take. At least for now, it’ll be business as usual for Penn and Barstool.

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Jake Garza

Jake Garza is a US Gambling Industry Analyst for Catena Media. He specializes in Midwest sports betting and casino content. Prior to covering the legal gambling industry, he spent time as a professional sports writer, reporting on teams such as the Cincinnati Bengals, Indianapolis Colts and Indiana Pacers. Garza is currently working as a Managing Editor for PlayIndiana and PlayOhio, with previous stops at other well-known brands such as PlayIllinois and PlayMichigan. He has been covering the gambling industry since 2019, and currently works with a team of other journalists to provide comprehensive coverage of the legal U.S. gambling industry.

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