Massachusetts Regulator Cancels Hearing on Barstool Sportsbook’s Potential Responsible Gambling Violation

Massachusetts Regulator Cancels Hearing on Barstool Sportsbook's Potential Responsible Gambling ViolationOn Monday, the Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC) announced that it canceled the hearing on Barstool Sportsbook’s alleged responsible gaming violation, which was scheduled for this Thursday. In March, the betting platform had to suspend its “Can’t Lose Parlay” promotion, which potentially violated the Massachusetts Consumer Protections Act, under which operators must not reasonably confuse or mislead users to attract punters’ attention.

Barstool Sportsbook’s “Can’t Lose Parlay” Promotion Violates State Regulations

Massachusetts prohibits betting operators from using misleading language in their adverts. Under the state’s marketing rules, bookies are not even allowed to use words such as “risk-free”, “free”, or “can’t lose”. But in March this year, after the launch of online sports betting in the Commonwealth, Penn Entertainment’s Barstool sportsbook promoted a “Big Cat Can’t Lose” wager, which raised questions about whether the promotion violates the state’s sports betting regulations.

As a result, the gambling regulator voted to hold an adjudicatory hearing to decide if Barstool’s promotion ran afoul of the state’s regulations. Massachusetts Gaming Commission Investigation and Enforcement Bureau Director Loretta Lillios explained that Penn Entertainment’s Chief Compliance Officer Chris Soriano asked the Investigations and Enforcement Bureau (IEB) to discuss whether the promotion violates any marketing rules. Lillios also said that Barstool Sportsbook suspended the “Can’t Lose Parlay” promotion not only in Massachusetts but in all US states.

As previously reported, the Massachusetts Gaming Commission has held two hearings on MGM Springfield and Encore Boston allegedly taking wagers on prohibited in-state collegiate events. But the gambling regulator has never held a hearing on responsible gaming violations thus far.

In a public meeting on Monday, the Massachusetts Gaming Commission announced that the adjudicatory hearing for Barstool’s “Can’t Lose Parlay” promotion is canceled. The regulator did not specify the reasons for its decision and whether the hearing will be held at all. However, the operator can waive its right to a hearing and accept any punishment the commission will impose if it finds the operator guilty.

Barstool Sportsbook Receives a $250,000 Fine for Advertising Violation in Ohio

In February this year, Barstool Sportsbook was fined in Ohio for holding a live event outside the University of Toledo’s football stadium. The Ohio Casino Control Commission slapped Penn Entertainment with a hefty fine of $250,000. The regulator explained that the company violated two rules, more precisely promoting gambling services near a college campus and targeting individuals under the legal gambling age of 21. Chief Compliance Officer Chris Soriano said that the company realizes its mistake and takes responsibility for it.

The state’s gambling regulator also handed a fine of $500,000 to DraftKings Sportsbook for two separate violations. In December, the betting company mailed advertisements to people under 21 years old. In January, DraftKings did not follow Ohio’s guidelines, under which betting commercials must have a responsible gambling message and must not include words such as “free” or “risk-free” bets.