Barstool runs Can’t Lose Parlay promo for Massachusetts launch

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Barstool Sportsbook may think it is a can’t-miss idea, but the “Can’t Lose Parlay” being offered at launch in Massachusetts is raising some questions about whether the operator is in violation of state advertising regulations.

Barstool Sports founder Dave Portnoy Tweeted this afternoon about tailing the promotional offer:

Looking at the MGC regulations on advertising, this could run afoul of sections B and C of this rule:

No advertising, marketing, branding, or other promotional materials published, aired, displayed, disseminated, or distributed by or on behalf of a Sports Wagering Operator shall:
(a) Promote irresponsible or excessive participation in Sports Wagering;
(b) Suggest that social, financial, or personal success is guaranteed by engaging in event wagering;
(c) Imply or promote Sports Wagering as free of risk in general on in connection with a particular promotion or Sports Wagering offer

SBC Americas reached out to Penn Entertainment for comment but, at the time of publication, have received no response.

When asked about whether or not the MGC signed off on this specific promotional bet before it was deployed, a commission spokesperson offered this explanation:

“The MGC doesn’t vet in the sense that we approve or deny any ad or promo content. The operators have all read the law, been watching these meetings, and reviewing/commenting on our regs. That is the long way to say it is up to the operators and their compliance teams to ensure they are in compliance with rules, regulations, and applicable laws.”

The agenda for the March 15 MGC meeting now includes the following item:

“Discussion of promotion offered by Penn Sports Interactive (d/b/a Barstool Sportsbook) and options for Commission to review”

Penn Entertainment CEO Jay Snowden did mention this exact promotional series when he spoke to the MGC in defense of some of the negative things the commissioners had heard about the brand. Here is how he explained it:

“Dan Katz goes by the nickname Big Cat, he comes up with a can’t lose parlay every week. He also is admittedly one of the worst gamblers on the planet. And so it’s meant to be funny. It’s not meant to push something as being viewed as can’t lose. So oftentimes, what you may see or hear, it can be a headline, it can be in response to something that you don’t have full context.”

While Snowden offered the explanation, that was the extent of the discussion on that particular topic and was part of a larger presentation that was met with criticism from at least one of the commissioners.

The questionable promotion comes a day after the MGC heard from the state Attorney General about the need for operators to avoid predatory and misleading practices.

It is also the latest incident in a string of not-so-positive headlines, including all three retail operators taking prohibited bets on in-state college teams and FanDuel allegedly running a series of TV ads in violation of the state’s advertising regulations.

Editor’s note: A previous version of this story erroneously labeled the promo “Can’t Miss Parlay” when the actual name is “Can’t Lose Parlay”