Penn Entertainment stock plummets as Bartstool’s Portnoy claims sidekick fired for racial slur

Penn Entertainment’s stock slid more than 13% Thursday after Barstool Sports founder Dave Portnoy announced Wednesday that Penn instructed Barstool to terminate one of Portnoy’s sidekicks for publicly using the n-word.

“Today we had to fire Ben Mintz,” Portnoy says in a video posted Wednesday on Twitter describing how Mintz, a social media host, “rapped a racial slur,” while live streaming. “He turned white as a ghost.”

Penn Entertainment purchased Barstool Sports in part in 2020 and in whole this year. Penn operates the M Resort and more than 40 casinos in a number of states.

Social media posts reveal Portnoy, known for misogynistic and racist slurs, has repeatedly used the n-word himself.

Penn did not respond to requests for comment about Portnoy’s past statements.

“Bottom line is this, I hate the decision. I don’t agree with the decision, but it’s not my decision to make and when we sold Barstool to Penn, we knew what came with it,” Portnoy said in the video. “But I don’t deal with the things Penn deals with in terms of state regulators etc.”

“His description of Penn’s rationale for axing Ben Mintz is generally on point,” says gaming columnist David McKee of the Las Vegas Advisor. “The one thing he exaggerates is that they could lose gaming licenses over isolated use of the n-word. That doesn’t happen.”

While Portnoy’s video suggests he was asked by Penn to terminate Mintz, it’s unclear what role Portnoy holds with the company.

“He’s not a Penn executive, but he is an employee of the company,” says McKee. “They figured the reward of having his name continue to be associated with Barstool outweigh the risks that come with doing anything with Dave Portnoy.”

The Nevada Gaming Control Board, which did not respond to requests for comment, has largely ignored Portnoy’s behavior as he becomes the face of Penn Entertainment. But Casino regulators in other states have taken notice.

Penn Sports Interactive (PSI), which operates Barstool Sportsbook, received preliminary approval from the Massachusetts Gaming Commission in January for a temporary mobile sports betting license after delays and a review of issues – including statements made by Portnoy – about compulsive gambling, women, rape, and minorities.

Ohio casino regulators fined Penn $250,000 for targeting university students in November 2022 to sign up for its sportsbook.

The Indiana Gaming Commission levied a $10,000 fine against Barstool Sportsbook in 2021 over a TikTok post by an employee regarding gambling losses.

“We know that we’re not perfect, and have made mistakes in the past,” Penn Entertainment executive Michael West said to Massachusetts regulators in December of last year. “We own those mistakes. We’ve learned from them. And we strive to continue to be an industry leader in responsible gaming.”

“There he is. That’s Mintzy,” Portnoy tweeted Thursday morning as Penn Entertainment’s stock plunged.

Thursday morning Penn announced first quarter earnings that were “slightly better than expected. So a drop that steep wouldn’t be caused by a less than overwhelming quarterly filing,” according to McKee, who adds Penn stock, down 11% for the year, has been “underperforming for a long time.”

“The drop off in the stock price today happened too close to when Portnoy dropped all those F-bombs to be a coincidence,” McKee said of Portnoy’s video. “I think that what this incident may have shown to investors is what a loose cannon Portnoy is and the problems of having him inside the tent at Penn.”

Nevada Current is part of States Newsroom, a network of news bureaus supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. Nevada Current maintains editorial independence. Contact Editor Hugh Jackson for questions: Follow Nevada Current on Facebook and Twitter.

Bill that would require schooling for Nevada election denier Michele Fiore opposed by rural judges

A bill before Nevada lawmakers would mandate that justices of the peace in Nevada who are not members of the State Bar, such as former Las Vegas City Councilwoman Michele Fiore, now a Justice of the Peace in Pahrump, be required to pass a test intended for law students.

“My clients are always surprised when they learn they appeared in front of a Justice of the Peace who’s not an attorney,” testified Sen. Melanie Scheible, a Democrat and attorney by trade, and sponsor of Senate Bill 354, “They assume that justices of the peace are attorneys. They assume that the person presiding over their criminal case has already demonstrated some kind of knowledge of the law and a qualification to sit on the bench.”

Nevada has long allowed non-attorneys to be JPs and municipal judges, especially in rural areas, where bar members are scarce and desire to serve even scarcer, according to judges who testified in opposition to the measure.

“Even as Senator Scheibel indicated, there’s no current judges that are causing concern,” observed Boulder City Judge Victor Miller, president of the Nevada Judges of Limited Jurisdiction, noting 40% of the organization’s members are not lawyers. “If there’s not a problem, why are we trying to find a solution? At any rate, I believe that this measure would seriously affect the access to justice. throughout the state.”

The proposal comes just months after Fiore, who also served in the Nevada Legislature, won appointment to the Nye County Justice Court following her loss in the race for State Treasurer. She participated in votes on the Las Vegas City Council after she says she became a resident of Pahrump, and appears not to have lived in Nye County long enough to qualify for the appointment. Nye County officials have declined to comment.

Fiore is notorious for outbursts in the Nevada Assembly chambers and elsewhere, engaging in a physical altercation with a colleague, a variety of alleged ethical breaches, and admits she’s under investigation by the FBI. Her failure to make payroll tax deposits for employees of her now-defunct home care agency resulted in multiple Internal Revenue Service liens, which she says are paid.

Fiore has a high school degree, the only requirement for JPs in Nevada counties with 100,000 or less residents. Her name was never mentioned in the hearing.

Currently, only law students preparing for bar exams are permitted to take the test in question, the Multistate Professional Responsibility Examination (MPRE), administered by the National Conference of Bar Examiners, but Sen. Melanie Scheible is trying to change that.

Scheible, chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, says she’s in conversations with the Bar Examiners, in an effort to accommodate the provisions of the legislation.

Nevada does not require justices of the peace to be attorneys in counties with 100,000 or fewer residents. More than two dozen other states have similar provisions.

“Currently in Nevada, depending on the population in your township or county, your justice of the peace may not be an attorney,” testified law student Elliot Malin, who presented the bill with Scheible, and noted jurists who lack law degrees are making life-altering decisions. “Their only formal statutory education requirement is to hold a high school diploma.”

JPs hear criminal matters, traffic violations, small claims, evictions, and civil disputes up to $15,000. They also grant or deny protective orders for domestic violence, stalking, and harassment.

“Nevada is one of eight states that currently allows non-attorney justices of the peace to convict in certain criminal courts,” Malin noted, adding the process can raise Sixth Amendment concerns regarding the right to a fair trial for defendants. “Nevadans deserve to know that these are those that have the ability to make life altering decisions for them to understand legal ethics.”

All JPs attend Judicial College, regardless of bar status. But Malin says JPs are not required to prove via an exam that they retained the knowledge required to do their jobs.

Justice of the Peace Richard Glasson of Pahrump testified he has not taken the MPRE, nor have several former State Supreme Court Justices.

“Many of us serve in rural communities who do not have an abundance or a single lawyer that wants to run for our job,” he told lawmakers.

“I think they’re resisting change and think it’s an affront, even to the point to say its unconstitutional, even though it’s explicitly permitted in the Constitution,” Malin told the Current when asked about the judicial reaction to possible legislative tinkering.

“We’re not going to find competent citizens to sit in our townships if they have this type of burden,” said Glasson. “This sudden intrusion into the way we’ve run our judiciary for the last 150 years is going to create chaos.

Nevada Current is part of States Newsroom, a network of news bureaus supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. Nevada Current maintains editorial independence. Contact Editor Hugh Jackson for questions: Follow Nevada Current on Facebook and Twitter.

Trump’s candidate Laxalt wins Nevada Republican primary for U.S. Senate

Former Nevada Attorney General Adam Laxalt, the chosen candidate of former Pres. Donald Trump, is the winner of the Republican primary for the U.S. Senate. His closest opponent was Sam Brown, a war veteran who won the endorsement of the state Republican party.
The Associated Press called the race for Laxalt just after 10 p.m.

Laxalt will face Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto in November. She is seeking a second term.

Laxalt is the grandson of the late Nevada governor and U.S. Sen. Paul Laxalt and the son of Pete Domenici, the late U.S. Senator from New Mexico.

Laxalt was raised in Virginia and moved to Nevada after serving as a Navy judge advocate general. He won election in 2014 as Attorney General and lost the post to Aaron Ford, a Democrat, in 2018.

Nevada Current is part of States Newsroom, a network of news bureaus supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. Nevada Current maintains editorial independence. Contact Editor Hugh Jackson for questions: Follow Nevada Current on Facebook and Twitter.

Las Vegas Republican voters split over Trump or DeSantis for president

A rally Wednesday in Las Vegas featuring Republican U.S. Senate hopeful Adam Laxalt and his supporter, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, attracted a crowd of several hundred people, some who’ve already made their choice in the U.S. Senate primary race, and some who are still kicking the tires.

“I’m undecided,” said Paul Merriman, who says he’s still considering Laxalt’s opponent Sam Brown. He said he donated to Brown.

Merriman does know who he wants for president on the GOP ticket, even though former Pres. Donald Trump has yet to announce whether he’ll make another run at a second term.

“DeSantis should run and Trump should be Secretary of State and give all his supporters to DeSantis,” Merriman said while awaiting admission to Laxalt’s Rise Up rally at a local nightclub.

Registered Independent Paul Johnson is supporting Laxalt in the general election, should he win the primary. He says he’d probably vote for DeSantis over Trump. “I like his policies – education, health, financial – he’s done a great job.”

He’s especially pleased that DeSantis “got rid of CRT” by not allowing critical race theory, a graduate level college course, to be taught in public schools. He also supports what critics call DeSantis’ Don’t Say Gay bill, which prohibits “classroom discussion about sexual orientation or gender identity in certain grade levels or in a specified manner.”

Supporters of the new Florida law allege discussion of same-sex relationships in the classroom “grooms” impressionable children.

“You don’t teach kids about sex and transgenderism. How is that appropriate for kids?” asks Johnson, who suggests children are being “groomed from kindergarten all the way up…”

Detractors say the legislation further stigmatizes gay students and engenders shame among young children of gay parents.

“If you’re against the Anti-Grooming Bill, you are probably a groomer or at least you don’t denounce the grooming of 4-8 year old children,” DeSantis’ press secretary tweeted last month.

Las Vegan Lisa Noeth supports Laxalt for Senate. But the t-shirt she donned for the rally proclaimed a Trump and DeSantis ticket in 2024.

“DeSantis is a great leader. He’s my number one governor for America right now,” she said. “He’s standing up to all these leftist ideologies, including Disney. This heartens me that as much as America’s changed, I’m happy that we have at least this one person standing up for us. He is the only one so far.”

Last week, DeSantis revoked Disneyworld’s self-governance status in Florida, and in remarks at the time suggested Disney productions indoctrinate children about sexuality.

“I’m not comfortable having that type of agenda get special treatment in my state,” he said.

Noeth says DeSantis is a fitting replacement for former Vice-Pres. Mike Pence, who “turned away from us real conservatives. Pence is a part of the old Republican party that is no longer recognizable. They don’t represent the people. This is Trump’s America.”

Melanie Johnston is set on Laxalt in the Senate race, but says she’s hoping she doesn’t have to choose between DeSantis and Trump for president.

“That’s a decision that would be hard to make,” she says, adding she’s heard DeSantis isn’t going to challenge Trump. “I like both of them.”

Twala and Michael Wagner say they haven’t made up their mind about the Senate primary, but they’re likely to split should DeSantis challenge Trump in a presidential primary.

“I’d probably vote for DeSantis,” says Michael Wagner.

“I’d vote for Trump,” says his wife. “I’d vote for the one I think would win.”

Sondra Richardson is supporting Laxalt in the Senate primary but undecided on whether DeSantis or Trump is the best presidential candidate for Republicans.

“That’s a hard question. I like both of them,” she says, adding she voted for Trump twice. “I’m still leaning toward Trump. I hope he runs. I’d like to see DeSantis as his vice president.”

“I’m going to hear what Laxalt has to say today,” says Grace Renshaw, who says she’s not sure about her choice in the Republican primary for Senate. “Actually, I’m here to see DeSantis.”

Renshaw says Trump “has to finish the job” and then “let DeSantis take over.” Pence, she says, is not in the picture. “There’s something very nefarious about that person.”

This reporter was admitted to the rally but forced by Laxalt campaign official John Burke to leave before Laxalt and DeSantis took the stage.

“You didn’t RSVP,” Burke said.

“We know you’re media,” he responded when provided proof of the RSVP.

Nevada Current is part of States Newsroom, a network of news bureaus supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. Nevada Current maintains editorial independence. Contact Editor Hugh Jackson for questions: Follow Nevada Current on Facebook and Twitter.