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Gambling Regulators Scrutinizing Penn National, Barstool Amid Portnoy Allegations

Penn National CEO Jay Snowden says the company has addressed inquiries by regulators and intends to keep those boards updated with new information as it becomes available.

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Recent allegations against Barstool Sports founder Dave Portnoy have prompted gambling regulators in Nevada and Indiana to investigate Penn National’s acquisition of the popular media company, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Portnoy has disputed the accusations of sexual misconduct by five women and filed a defamation lawsuit against Business Insider and author Julia Black.

According to the Nevada Independent, Nevada Gaming Control Board chairman Brin Gibson told the Journal that the organization has an obligation “to protect the reputation of the state and the reputation of the state’s gaming industry,” and has requested information from Penn National in the wake of concerns about Barstool. However, Barstool’s sports betting app doesn’t currently operate in Nevada.

The Journal also reported that the Indiana Gaming Commission is conducting a review of Penn and Barstool in light of the allegations against Portnoy, and says the casino and sportsbook company is aware of concerns regarding the partnership. And Barstool’s app does operate in Indiana.

Penn National CEO Jay Snowden told the Journal that the company has addressed inquiries by those regulators and intends to keep those boards updated with new information as it becomes available. Penn contacted gambling regulators in the states where the company is licensed following Business Insider’s first report on the allegations against Portnoy.

Furthermore, Snowden stated Penn National’s support for Portnoy and believes in the partnership with Barstool as the casino and sportsbook attempts to reach younger bettors as the sports betting landscape expands and becomes more popular. Barstool also allows Penn to have a presence in digital media to compete with other betting companies, which it didn’t have previously.

Two years ago, Penn National acquired a 36 percent stake in Barstool and intends to take over 100 percent of the company by 2023. Snowden said those plans haven’t changed. Partnering with and eventually taking control of the Barstool brand allows Penn to reach potential customers and build a user base without having to spend heavily on advertising. That’s a different strategy than rival sports betting companies have pursued.

Furthermore, Snowden points out, Barstool is one of the few digital media brands that has expanded revenues and social media following since Penn invested in the company two years ago.

However, former Nevada Gaming Control Board chairwoman Becky Harris said concerns over Barstool may prevent the company from getting licensed in more states, as regulators work to address harassment and discrimination among employees and customers, particularly against women.

Earlier this week, Barstool announced the launch of “Barstool Difference,” a philanthropic initiative geared toward helping female-run companies, veterans, youth service, and sobriety.

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Dave Portnoy Tells Business Insider CEO He Is ‘Piece Of S*** Coward’

“Despite objections from the moderator, Dave Portnoy got out his entire question before his mic was muted.”

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Dave Portnoy is not going to move on from his hate of Business Insider. The Barstool founder joined a Twitter Spaces session on Thursday night where the public had a chance to talk to Business Insider CEO Henry Blodget.

The event was hosted by the New York Times. Blodget was part of a panel discussing issues facing the business community.

“So yeah, I saw that piece of shit Henry Blodget’s on there,” Portnoy said when his mic went live. “My first question’s why would a piece of shit who’s been banned by the SEC from talking about stocks be on there. My second question is hey Henry, you f***ing coward, you know everything you wrote about me was bullshit. Why don’t you ever sit down with me you f***ing piece of shit coward. That’s my question.”

Despite objections from the moderator, Dave Portnoy got out his entire question before his mic was muted. No answer came. The moderator apologized to Blodget and ended the event.

The accusations of Blodget being banned by the SEC from discussing financial advice are true. Portnoy was referncing fraud charges that Blodget settled in 2003 when he was a Wall Street analyst.

Business Insider has ran a salacious piece about Portnoy’s sex life in November. It included accusations of misconduct from three women that claimed consensual sexual encounters with Portnoy took a dark turn without their consent.

Dave Portnoy has maintained the story is not true. He has also threatened to sue Blodget, Business Insider and the story’s author Julia Black.

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Mile High Sports Acquires Colorado Preps

“Mile High Sports adds Colorado Preps to a portfolio that includes a radio brand broadcasting on 98.1 FM and 107.5 FM HD-3 in Denver, a magazine, and MileHighSports.com.”

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Mile High Sports has acquired the Colorado Preps brand, including ColoradoPreps.com and the company’s radio and podcast networks. The deal is effective immediately.

“I am proud of what we’ve accomplished through 19 years of the Colorado Preps Network and very excited about the future with Mile High Sports,” said Kevin Shaffer, owner and founder of Colorado Preps. “The MHS crew is poised to bring additional and expanded coverage to high school sports across the state and we’re honored to stay involved with the network and help its growth.”

He will remain on the staff and continue hosting and producing radio and digital shows.

“With the elimination of the Rocky Mountain News, and shrinking budgets across most news outlets, local high school sports coverage has often and unfortunately become the casualty,” said Mile High Sports Editor-in-Chief Doug Ottewill. “But there will always be kids playing sports and parents wanting to read about those kids playing sports. I think ColoradoPreps.com fills a need and a niche that will never go away, no matter what’s happening on the bigger sports landscape in Colorado.”

Mile High Sports adds Colorado Preps to a portfolio that includes a radio brand broadcasting on 98.1 FM and 107.5 FM HD-3 in Denver, a magazine, and MileHighSports.com.

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Barstool Sports To Eliminate Some Podcasts

“We almost created a model where we started with all the resources, we didn’t start with the idea or the people and as a result, we have a lot of things that weren’t necessarily going in the right places.”

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Barstool Sports is doing some internal re-organizing. As a result, some shows are being cancelled.

Talking on her podcast Token CEO, Barstool Sports CEO Erika Nardini said the company has looked under the hood the past few months and are trying to clean things up.

Nardini also stated that the company’s spending needs to be reined in. She feels like too much has been invested in content that hasn’t been delivered, and creative freedom has become more of a curse than a blessing.

“We almost created a model where we started with all the resources, we didn’t start with the idea or the people and as a result, we have a lot of things that weren’t necessarily going in the right places,” she said.

In the podcast space, Barstool has 94 different offerings to choose from. Nardini said it’s just become too much, and they’re going to have to scale things back.

“No company of our size should have 94 shows,” she said. “What was my mistake and our mistake? We treated all 94 shows equal.”

Nardini realizes that means tough decisions are going to have to be made. Good, talented people will either have to move on or their jobs will be re-purposed.

“I’m bummed that it impacts people’s jobs,” she said. “I think that is a really, really serious thing when a role gets impacted and things change. You have to take that with a little bit of a heavy heart.”

Erika didn’t specify which shows, in particular, would be getting the ax, but it’s believed that the show Podfathers will be among them.

Show co-hosts Michael McCarthy aka “Large” and Justin Clemenza aka “Clem” took to Twitter and to the Barstool blog to announce the parenting podcast was no more.

Jordan Demcher aka “Jordie” tweeted a couple of thoughts on the situation but then clarified his podcast would carry on.

Keep your eyes on social media over the next few days for more details on this situation from Barstool’s personalities.

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