The allegations at first glance look like tabloid fodder. But accusations of sexual wrongdoing against Barstool Sports founder Dave Portnoy would cause headaches for gaming company Penn National, which in 2020 took a 36% stake in the podcast and entertainment producer. other online content.
The Wall Street Journal reports that regulators in Nevada and Indiana took a close look at Barstool and Penn National after Business Insider published an article earlier, featuring several women accusing Portnoy of filming them having unprotected sex. their permission, including a woman who said she suffered a broken rib during the encounter. The report follows an earlier story published by Business Insider in November in which three other women said they had sex that turned violent and nonconsensual.
Casino operator Penn National is licensed to operate in Nevada, and Nevada Gaming Control Board Chairman Brin Gibson told the Journal that the ongoing investigation was to “protect the state’s reputation and the reputation of the state’s gaming industry”.
In Indiana, where Barstool’s new sports betting app is licensed to operate, a separate review of the company is also reportedly underway.
Penn Chief Executive Jay Snowden told the Journal they support Portnoy. Penn National bought a 36% minority stake in Barstool Sports in 2020 for $163 million. Under terms of the agreement, Penn National will increase its stake to approximately 50% next year with another investment of $62 million. Snowden says the plan remains on track.
Penn National sees its ties with Barstool as a way to market Penn National’s online casinos and games without spending the millions on advertising their rivals need. Snowden also told the Journal that Barstool’s revenue has grown 150% over the past two years and the company is operating at a profit.
Last month, Portnoy filed a libel suit against Business Insider for his articles. Portnoy said in his lawsuit that the allegations are a “pure fabrication” and that the stories had “a disastrous effect on Mr. Portnoy’s personal and professional reputation”. He also says that Barstool has lost $12 million in advertising revenue since the first story appeared.
Insider, which is owned by the German media conglomerate owned by Axel Springer, defended its reporting.
Portnoy, 44, previously denied the allegations in a series of social media posts in which he said the encounters he had with the women were consensual. The lawsuit claims the story violated Massachusetts state privacy laws by publishing “highly personal and private information” about her sex life.