Barstool Sportsbook suspends “Can’t Lose Parlays” amidst Massachusetts regulatory probe

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Penn Entertainment’s Barstool Sportsbook has suspended its “Can’t Lose Parlay” promotion after questions were raised about whether or not the terminology violated state sports betting regulations.

According to Massachusetts Gaming Commission Investigation and Enforcement Bureau Director Loretta Lillios, Penn suspended the promotion not just in Massachusetts but in all US jurisdictions.

“Right now, no Can’t Lose wagers are being promoted by Penn,” she said. Lillios also added that Penn proactively reached out over the weekend to discuss the promotion. While Penn Chief Compliance Officer Chris Soriano was in attendance for the meeting, the MGC did not hear testimony from him, as the meeting was not about deeming the merits of the claim but determining what the next steps would be in terms of how the MGC would evaluate the incident.

Lillios spoke about which rules the promotion potentially violated within existing MGC sportsbook regulations. She also referenced the recent appearance of members of the Attorney General’s office before the commission to discuss how sportsbooks need to be in compliance with the Massachusetts Consumer Protections Act and its mandates around false advertising as well.

MGC General Counsel Todd Grossman advised the MGC commissioners they had three options:

  1. Hold an adjudicatory hearing similar to the ones held over retail betting infractions this week
  2. The IEB issues a recommendation on how to address the situation, which the MGC could adopt or reject
  3. The MGC could issue an intent to issue a civil administrative penalty to Penn, thus creating an opportunity for Penn to request a hearing

In the spirit of consistency, the commissioners agreed a hearing made the most sense given transgressions by other operators have been handled that way thus far.

Commissioner Eileen O’Brien did ask Lillios if there was any supplemental information IEB needed to provide the commissioners. Lillios said it was, “a matter limited to the language of a ‘can’t-lose’ wager,” but did offer any additional context, such as the betting app interface, should they request it.

Barstool Sportsbook is not the only operator that may have violated the state rules around marketing terms. The IEB is currently investigating a matter drawn to the commission’s attention by O’Brien where FanDuel may have run commercials on Hulu using prohibited terminology like “risk-free” and “free bet”.