Barstool Drops ‘Can’t Lose Parlay’ in Massachusetts, as Sports Betting Regulators Eye Possible Violations

Barstool Sports is dropping its “Can’t Lose Parlay” in Massachusetts amid questions about the sports betting gimmick’s possible violation of state gambling regulations.

The Penn Entertainment mobile app decided to voluntarily discontinue the promotion “for the time being”, as the Massachusetts Gaming Commission prepares to hold a hearing that could result in penalties stemming from the marketing tool, MGC Investigative Bureau Director Loretta Lillios said at an MGC meeting Wednesday.

That hearing is expected to be scheduled for later this month.

Massachusetts sports betting operators are prohibited from marketing “that would reasonably be expected to confuse or mislead patrons in order to induce them to (bet)” under MGC rules, Lillios said. Marketing anything as “free of risk in general or in connection with a particular promotion” is also prohibited under the rules.

Lillios explained to commissioners that Barstool Sports’ marketing caught the MGC’s attention after the brand advertised a “Can’t Lose” wager on four now-final NCAA men’s basketball games. She didn’t specify which games.

Barstool Sports’ “Can’t Lose Parlay” is advertised regularly on the Pardon My Take podcast hosted by Dan Katz, aka Big Cat. No bet is ever ‘can’t lose’, of course, but any sports betting language implying no risk to bettors is subject to being flagged by the MGC.

More Massachusetts Gaming Hearings on the Way

News of the upcoming hearing with Barstool Sports on possible violations for use of the “Can’t Lose Parlay” comes one day after the MGC held a hearing with operators on other potential sports betting violations.

On Tuesday, the commission heard from Encore Boston Harbor and Plainridge Park Casino officials on self-reported violations stemming from bets the casinos took on in-state college teams outside of tournament play. The violation reported by Encore involved the Feb. 2 Boston College-Notre Dame women’s basketball game. Plainridge Park self-reported on Feb 3 that it accepted wagers on the Feb. 2 men’s basketball match-up between Merrimack College and Long Island University.

None of the bets were allowed under Massachusetts’ sports betting regulations because they involved in-state colleges outside of tournament play, like March Madness.

The commission did not vote on the violations Tuesday, according to the Boston Herald. It is instead expected to issue a report outlining possible actions, including possible penalties, it might take against the casinos in a future proceeding.

The Herald reported Tuesday that MGC hearings involving a second possible Encore violation and a self-reported violation at MGM Springfield casino are also forthcoming. The MGM Springfield incident involved bets accepted by the casino on the Feb. 3 Harvard-Yale men’s basketball game.

About the Author
Rebecca Hanchett

Rebecca Hanchett

Legislative Writer
Based in Kentucky's Bluegrass region, Rebecca Hanchett is a political writer who covers legislative developments at Gaming Today. She worked as a public affairs specialist for 23 years at the Kentucky State Capitol. A University of Kentucky grad, Hanchett has been known to watch UK. basketball from time to time.

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