‘F@$% That Guy!’ Dave Portnoy Responds To Colorado Betting Controversy

Written By Ken Pomponio on 05/11/2022
Dave Portnoy Barstool Colorado betting controversy response 051122

Dave Portnoy has returned verbal fire.

While retail Barstool Colorado Sportsbook personnel have declined comment on an incident which allegedly took place at Black Hawk’s Ameristar Casino last month when prominent Colorado bettor James Salinas attempted to place two NFL Draft wagers, Barstool Sports’ founder and current content manager couldn’t hold back.

Tuesday, on his self-titled Barstool show, Portnoy countered Salinas’ take with one of his own. And true to his brash and polarizing personality, Portnoy didn’t mince words with his opening comments.

“F–k that guy! F–k that guy!” Portnoy says of Salinas.

April’s incident remains under investigation by the Colorado Division of Gaming.

Meanwhile, the verbal and social media sparring has landed Barstool Sportsbook — and Colorado sports betting — in the national spotlight.

‘I don’t know if I would’ve handled that any differently’

Salinas’ claims of unethical treatment at the sportsbook spurred the Division of Gaming’s inquiry.

Salinas, a Colorado resident and current (Las) Vegas Stats and Information Network (VSiN) show host, said Barstool Sportsbook employees printed out his requested draft bet tickets — utilizing the book’s posted odds and stated limits — during an April visit to the Ameristar. But, before receiving the tickets, Salinas claimed Barstool ticket writers asked him to accept lower betting limits and less-favorable odds after reviewing his driver’s license.

Salinas said he initially agreed to the lower limits. But he balked at the odds changes and left the Ameristar without placing any bets there.

He went public with his complaints during his April 23 VSiN show. A video clip from that show — in which Salinas refers to the sportsbook as a “little ham-and-egger outfit” — has since received more than 800 engagements on Twitter.

Portnoy addressed the controversy Tuesday to lead off his show’s Inside Barstool segment.

Roughly 1:00:30 into the YouTube video of Tuesday’s show, Portnoy utters the aforementioned expletives. He then continues:

“It’s the draft. There’s all sorts of inside information. Listen, a casino is in it to make money. This wasn’t a game with just a normal line. He (Salinas) was literally driving around to different casinos, looking to get as much action on what he thought was inside information on the draft. They take his license, see that probably he’s a sharp and they want to limit him. … He’s crying like a baby, but that happens everywhere. That’s (just) not our casino. He was just crying like a baby. You were trying to put a ton of action on the NFL Draft. You weren’t just some schmoe who liked the player. You were driving casino to casino. I don’t feel bad. I don’t know if I would’ve handled that any differently if I was the casino.” 

Portnoy also claims he had a similar experience recently when he was asked to accept limit and odds changes at an unnamed casino sportsbook while attempting to place a NASCAR bet.

Portnoy: Just another sharp complaint

Portnoy Show host Eddie Farrer, better known as “Chicago Eddie,” then attempts to play devil’s advocate, telling Portnoy, “if you’re a sportsbook, I think you would take whatever action, knowing you and knowing gambling.” 

Portnoy, though, refuses to give much ground.

“I mean this guy wasn’t betting that much, so maybe. … But it is the NFL Draft,” he says. “That’s not like chance. There’s information. Maybe they should have small limits to begin with. But I really didn’t have a problem with that.”

“Sharps and touts complain about everything,” Portnoy continues. “That is their job. They do it full time to beat the house. And they act like they’re being wronged all the time, but that’s what they do. So I didn’t have any problem with that.”

Brady Kannon, Salinas’ VSiN co-host, responded Wednesday by criticizing Portnoy and his response on Twitter.

Salinas, meanwhile, has mainly been content to let his near-4-minute April 23 recounting do the talking. 

He did, though, follow up with an April 29 tweet that says:

“Regardless of my bets outcome and whatever the CGA ultimately does or doesn’t do, the house is the ultimate loser here. I’ll bet that measly $2000 saved wasn’t worth the backlash it’s received. Book that action!”

Sports betting ticket regulations at heart of issue

Contacted earlier this week, the Colorado Division of Gaming still isn’t commenting on the investigation. 

Any sanctions the Barstool Sportsbook receives from the state, though, likely will hinge on sports bet ticket-writing regulations.

The Ameristar Casino sportsbook house rules, posted on its website, state that “the Operator reserves the right, at its own discretion, to declare a bet void, totally or partly, if it is obvious that any of the following circumstances have occurred:

  • Bets have been offered, placed and/or accepted due to an Error
  • Bets placed while the website was encountering technical problems, that would otherwise not have been accepted
  • Influence or Syndicate Betting 
  • A result has been affected by criminal actions – directly or indirectly 
  • A public announcement has occurred in relation to the bet which alters significantly the odds. 
  • The bet was placed by a patron prohibited from wagering at Operator’s Sports Book.”

Meanwhile, Rule 7.6 (12) of the Colorado Division of Gaming’s Sports Betting Regulations addresses the “cancellation of wagers.” 

“A Sports Betting Operation may, in its discretion, cancel an accepted wager for obvious error or in the case of a change in circumstance that makes grading the wager an impossibility. Obvious error shall be defined in the Sports Betting Operator’s house rules. Any cancellation of wagers shall be reported to the Division.”

On the surface, none of the above regulations appear to justify Barstool refusing to honor the alleged original printed tickets.

Photo by AP / Scott Roth
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Ken Pomponio

Ken is a fourth-generation Coloradan and career sports journalist with more than 30 years covering the gamut from the preps to the pros. A lifelong Front Range resident and son of 1960s Denver Broncos season-ticket holders, he is a long-time sports betting enthusiast whose insight and passion shine through in his coverage at PlayColorado.

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