Nevada Gaming Control Board (NGCB) Chair Brin Gibson would like to know more about Dave Portnoy, the founder of Barstool Sports, who is seemingly always making headlines.
Barstool Sports has become a major player in the US legal sports betting industry. That’s since Portnoy agreed to sell 36 percent of the organization to Penn National Gaming (PNG) in early 2020 for $163 million. Though Barstool Sports is not licensed in Nevada, Penn is, and Gibson says the state’s pursuit of more details regarding Portnoy’s background and recent personal conduct is therefore warranted.
PNG named Felicia Hendrix its new chief financial officer in March. Being an official of a licensed casino operator in Nevada, a condition of Hendrix’s employment, is being deemed suitable for the role in the eyes of the NGCB.
During her disposition on December 1, Gibson revealed that he has serious issues with Penn’s close relationship with Portnoy and Barstool Sports. The top gaming regulator said the board has sent PNG a request for information regarding its decision to acquire the Barstool position, but has yet to hear back from the company.
Unlike Hendrix, Portnoy is not an executive officer at Penn National Gaming. As a result, he is not required to receive suitability approval in Nevada.
Gibson said during the board hearing that included in Hendrix’s suitability discussion that his PNG request regarding Portnoy is now more of a demand.
Portnoy was recently the subject of an Insider article that reported on numerous women claiming various sexual harassment and misconduct allegations against him. Portnoy has repeatedly denied the accusations. Still, Gibson wants more intelligence regarding Portnoy, who has been arrested at least twice since 2015.
The first incident came that year when New York City police detained Portnoy at the NFL headquarters while protesting “Deflategate.” That was the controversy involving then-New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady purposely deflating certain footballs used in a playoff game. The second arrest came in 2019, when police in Atlanta accused Portnoy of producing fake press passes to access a media event the day before Super Bowl LIII. Portnoy was not found guilty of wrongdoing in either arrest.
Gibson told Hendrix that the board’s information request to PNG should be handled appropriately.
I’d like to see the report by the date I noted,” Gibson said, but did not specify the date he listed. “I would appreciate that.”
Penn National is licensed in Nevada to operate three casinos — Tropicana Las Vegas, The M Resort in Henderson, and Cactus Petes in Jackpot.
Cashless Gaming Symposium
In other NGCB news, the agency has announced its plans to hold a workshop on December 16 to further discuss cashless gaming. Under Nevada’s current rules, a new sports bettor wishing to wager online must first register and appear in a physical brick-and-mortar sportsbook.
Sightline Payments, a leading financial technology company, has petitioned the NGCB to do away with the in-person mandate. Such an amendment to Regulation 5.225 would first need to be proposed and approved by the NGCB. If that happens, the board’s superior — the Nevada Gaming Commission — would have the final say on the regulatory change.
The NGCB is inviting the public to comment on the suggestion during the December 16 meeting.
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