Barstool Sportsbook Gets Initial Nod For MA Online Sports Betting License

Following a two-day suitability review, the Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC) approved Barstool Sportsbook for an online sports betting license on Jan. 4.

Barstool joins Caesars, WynnBet, and BetMGM as the fourth tethered online sportsbook approved in Massachusetts. However, given the tumultuous journey that led to Barstool’s approval, the MGC has put in place five conditions that Barstool and its parent company, Penn Sports Interactive (PSI) must meet.

The Five Conditions

Note that #4 and #5 are conditions to be met by all future sportsbooks in Massachusetts.

  1. No one under the age of 21 will be permitted entrance into any live Barstool College Football Show events.
  2. PSI and Barstool fully cooperate with the MGC’s Investigation and Enforcement Bureau (IEB) in their facilitation of an investigation into the Barstool brand.
  3. Provide updates to the IEB “relating to the Illinois matter that was discussed in executive session.”
  4. Provide diversity goals on their supplier spending
  5. Provide diversity goals for the workforce.

Commissioners voted unanimously to find Penn “preliminarily suitable” for a Category 3 license provided they meet the above criteria.

This Category 3 mobile license will be tethered to Penn’s Plainridge Park Casino and its Category 1 retail license. BetFanatics would be Plainridge Park’s secondary Category 3 mobile license.

Responsible Gaming & Diversity, Top of Mind

Responsible gaming was a large part of the ongoing discussions with Barstool and Penn. The sportsbook has now taken out language that includes the term “risk-free” from its promotions and advertising. Penn executives told the MGC during review that “responsible gaming is not just about checking a box, it’s a core value.”

Diversity requirements are also top of mind for the MGC. As it stands, 27% of PSI’s employees are women and 30% of managerial positions are held by women; 2% are held by veterans and 27% are categorized as diverse.

Commissioner Natasha Skinner requested that they set a goal regarding the diversification of PSI’s workforce (condition #5).

Along with workforce diversity, the MGC wants supplier diversity (condition #4). PSI executives in the review said that they mostly work with international and national vendors but will look to add smaller, more local vendors to its list .

Commissioner Jordan Maynard wants to set specific goals in terms of vendor diversity spend, as they have required from other applicants.

PSI agreed to both of these requests made by Skinner and Maynard, though they requested time to sort it out.

Future of Barstool In MA

PSI currently owns 36% of Barstool Sports but will own 100% by the end of February, following a deal made last year. As of now, PSI is only responsible for regulating content relating to Barstool gambling content, however once Barstool Sports is fully acquired, PSI will have full jurisdiction over all of Barstool Sports’ content.

So theoretically, after the acquisition, the MGC would have an avenue to influence Barstool Sports content, gambling-related or not. As a license holder in Massachusetts, it would be fair game to regulate PSI, and by extension, Barstool Sports.

Mia Fowler is a graduate of Chapman University where she studied business marketing and journalism and played on the women’s soccer team. Following her 16-year journey with soccer, she started writing for Lineups.com. She specifically enjoys analysis of the NFL.

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