“Everything is on the Table” if Gaming Regulators Face Misogyny and Racism

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After Penn National Gaming, the company that owns M Resort in Las Vegas, bought Barstool Sports in 2020, Penn President and CEO Jay Snowden describe Barstool founder Dave Portnoy and the team as “sort of a mesh of SportsCenter, Howard Stern and reality TV. It’s a sports media company. But at the end of the day, they’re artists, they make music. content, they are actors… ”

Portnoy’s schtick includes a “joke” about rape of women.

“I never condone rape,” he said in 2010. “But if you’re size six and you’re wearing skinny jeans, you kind of deserve to be raped.”

“Correct. I’m sticking with that. I think that’s a funny joke,” Portnoy later Recount a journalist.

“Do you understand how offensive this is?” Asked the reporter.

“No, I obviously don’t,” replied Portnoy.

And there’s the one on former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick.

“Throw a veil on this guy and he’s a terrorist,” Portnoy said. noted Many times.

It’s not like PNG married a foreigner when she partnered up with Barstool Sports last year.

The book on Portnoy, known for its crass reflections, misogynistic whispers and racist diatribes, had already been written. Still, Penn paid $ 163 million in cash and convertible preferred stock to buy 36% of Barstool Sports, “a leading digital sports, entertainment, lifestyle and media company,” according to the site. PNG Web, which rates Barstool’s audience at “over 66 million followers”. Fans. “

The move made Portnoy, who had already sold the majority of the company, a multimillionaire and a major shareholder of PNG. The exact amount of his ownership is unknown.

PNG operates sports betting under the name Barstool Sportsbooks.

“We obviously spent a lot of time diligently on the bar stool and became very comfortable investing in the bar stool,” Snowden of PNG. noted Last year.

In April, Penn’s shares fell as a sex tape circulated the internet, apparently showing Portnoy pulling the leash of a collared woman.

“Penn stock is down because there’s a sex tape of me?” Hey, news flash. This is the third screwed up. I used to throw it, ”Portnoy said in a video response published on social networks, the weight of his corporate responsibility apparently escaping him. “More important. Down? A stock is going down because someone is having consensual sex? Are you kidding me? I would jump on that plunge and fuck it. No pun intended.”

Portnoy provided investment advice again this month after Penn stock fell again, this time after disappointing earnings news, and a story in Business Insider in which two women say they went to Portnoy’s where they had rough sex.

In a video posted last week, Portnoy deny the allegations and presented texts which he said contradicted the assertions. He also points out that the story does not include police report later tweeted by BI.

“You must shut up”, Portnoy noted it was said by his lawyers. “You’ve been accused of serious shit. Just shut up. Don’t even say you know girls.

But it’s the statements and actions that Portnoy admits and defends that could give Penn National Gaming adjustments going forward.

Barstool Sports did not respond to Current’s requests for comment, but in the past the company has stated that it is “not about managing the personal lives of our employees, but we made sure to put in place specific processes that encourage our colleagues to confidentially share any concerns they may have about their work environment.

Penn also did not respond to requests for comment.

Market watch reported last week, “Penn shares have fallen 32.6% year-to-date, while Boyd Gaming Corp. shares have fallen 32.6% year-to-date. increased 44.9%, Caesars Entertainment Inc. 41.9%, Golden Entertainment Inc. 153.8% and Red Rock Resorts Inc. increased 102.1%. The S&P 500 Index climbed 24.5% over the same period. “

Earlier this month, Barstool Sports and Penn lost offers for licenses in New York City to operate mobile sports betting operations.

Authorities in New York have approved groups such as Bally Bet, BetMGM, Caesars and Wynn Interactive. DraftKings and FanDuel, also approved in New York, were forced to leave Nevada several years ago for not being licensed. They have applied for Nevada gaming licenses, according to PlayUSA.

It is not known whether Portnoy’s statements and actions played a role in New York’s denial. It’s also unclear how Penn’s partnership with Portnoy may affect its efforts to expand on the Las Vegas Strip.

“I think these questions show how regulatory expectations have evolved over the past few years,” says academic and author David G. Schwartz. “Theoretically, the Commission has full authority to deny a license to someone if, in their opinion, their presence is contrary to the reputation of the Nevada Games.”

“In years past, gaming regulators were concerned with regulating gaming, cheating, skimming and removing corrupting influences, rather than sensitivities related to personal conduct or speech,” Lawyer and former Nevada Gaming Control Board member Jeff Silver said at a press conference. interview last week. “This is a fairly recent phenomenon following the abuse of (Harvey) Weinstein, (Jeffrey) Epstein and (Steve) Wynn and the wave of racial inequity claims.”

In 2017, Nevada regulators either failed to find out or remained willfully silent when they approved the bankruptcy restructuring of Apollo Global Management and the sale of Caesars Entertainment in 2017 without citing $ 158 million paid by then Apollo CEO and Chairman Leon Black to Jeffrey Epstein during the company’s reign over the Caesars Empire. Regulators were also silent on Black’s monthly payments of $ 100,000, starting in 2015, to a woman to remain silent about their relationship. Black would be under investigation by New York district attorney over rape allegations, says story in Vanity Fair citing sources.

Black is no longer a corporate executive, but owns a majority share of 23% of the preferred voting shares of the company. His lawyer, Susan Estrich, said he was not required to apply for a license under Apollo’s offer to buy LV Sands for $ 6.5 billion.

Gaming regulators declined to comment.

“Ability to hold a license”

Former Clark County District Judge Jennifer Togliatti will become the first woman to chair the Nevada Gaming Commission, the political arm of the state’s regulatory apparatus, on Thursday.

Decorum, character and integrity among candidates can enjoy a renaissance under his leadership.

Jeniffer Togliatti at a U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee hearing in March 2020 (Judicial Committee screenshot)

“To specifically deny any comment on a particular person or their allegations against him, as it could be referred to the commission, I will say this – everything is on the table for consideration and I think anything to do with the fitness to detain licensed, the ability to conduct gambling activities in the state is open to review and discussion, ”she told Current by phone. “And that would include those kinds of complaints.”

Background Check Is “The Cornerstone Of The Nevada Licensing Program,” Says Former Casino Manager And Regulator Richard Schuetz, Because Of Its Importance In Valuing The Industry And Indication Of The Future Behavior Of Licensees license.

“The Gaming Control Board clearly means ‘yes,’ Schuetz said of Apollo’s purchase of LV Sands during a panel presented by Local Culinary Section 226. “But they want to be very careful in doing this. “

“It’s hard to predict in which direction this might go,” says Schwartz. “On the one hand, AGM has been involved in the Nevada games for quite some time now, and therefore can be considered a known amount. On the other hand, Steve Wynn was too, and he’s no longer licensed. It’s understandable that those outside the process want to bring this to the surface. “

Wynn was forced to abandon his gaming empire when decades of employee sexual harassment and secret earnings came to light in the wake of a Wall Street Journal report.

“It is also possible that Mr. Portnoy’s statements will also attract further scrutiny, given the current climate,” Schwartz said. “It will be interesting to see how these two scenarios play out. “

Togliatti is taking over what some say is a critical time, as gaming regulators balance the need to maintain the integrity of electronic games and mobile sports betting without stifling the expansion.

“This is such an exciting and challenging time for the gaming industry to break into technology-based gaming and balance the ability to effectively oversee and maintain the integrity that is so important to our state, while enabling progress and market growth, ”Togliatti said.

Internet gambling, valued at $ 53.7 billion worldwide in 2019, is expected to grow at a compound annual rate of 11.5% through 2027, according to a market analysis report.

Companies such as DraftKings and FanDuel hope to expand mobile betting to table games other than poker, the only game currently licensed by Nevada regulators.

Online sports betting, legal in 15 states, provides mobility to players, but Nevada law requires participants to register in person at a participating casino.

New Jersey broke the $ 1 billion mark in sports betting revenue in September, according to Play today.

Nevada could definitely hit that mark before the end of the year after seeing significant growth in sports betting, ”the post wrote last week.

The testosterone that is flooding the industry with the advent of legal sports betting in other states is not putting Togliatti, who recently attended a Raiders game, in trouble.

“There were a lot of women who were very excited to be there and participate, and I guess they maybe made a few bets in their lives,” she notes.

Although she doesn’t gamble and admits to having a learning curve as a result, she’s used to doing the hard work.

“What I lack in experience I make up for in engagement,” she said, noting that she has forsaken courtroom drama in favor of viewing YouTube videos of committee meetings. “You know, you’d be surprised how much I learned just from watching old meetings. “



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