Barstool Sports and its parent company Penn Entertainment were under the microscope recently by the Massachusetts Gaming Commission, and Casino.org’s Steve Bittenbender writes that the scrutiny Barstool faced by the commission raises questions about what ESPN’s future could look like in the sports betting space.
Barstool faces a $250,000 fine by the Ohio Casino Control Commission following a college football show in the state in November in which show hosts, including Barstool founder Dave Portnoy, promoted the Barstool Sportsbook on the broadcast with fans under 21 years of age in attendance.
The pending fine in Ohio had gaming officials in Massachusetts questioning Penn president and CEO Jay Snowden about the media company’s role in promoting sports betting.
For ESPN, there has been speculation about whether the network would launch a sports betting platform of its own and how ESPN further embraces wagering.
With regards to College GameDay, the question is how would ESPN be able to promote its own potential sportsbook or wagering in general considering the majority of those in the live audience aren’t legally of age to place a bet?
Sports gambling has become a bit like the wild wild west with seemingly every other ad in football and basketball games being for some kind of sports betting app. States where sports betting is legalized, like Ohio and Massachusetts, have strict regulations on how the practice is promoted publicly, and ESPN will have a lot of that to consider as it continues to consider its next steps in the space.