Leagues Want More Data Via Virginia Sports Betting Rules

Posted on September 4, 2020 - Last Updated on September 3, 2020

Plenty of comments on the proposed Virginia sports betting rules are rolling in before Wednesday’s deadline.

That includes three major sports leagues, who apparently want to have their cake and eat it too on data. The NBA, MLB, and PGA Tour submitted joint comments, as they have in other jurisdictions.

Penn National and DraftKings also submitted their suggestions over the past few days as the important deadline approaches, but there are still a few months to go before Virginia sports betting is live.

The Virginia Lottery Board is scheduled to meet Sept. 15 to approve regulations after considering the public commentary. Applications won’t be accepted until mid-October, which regulators will have 90 days to review.

Leagues want a lot of Virginia sports betting data

If the three leagues have their way, sports governing bodies will have access to whatever bettor data they want.

The enabling law allows sports leagues to request data. They can only get it, though, if Executive Director Kevin Hall says it’s necessary according to the draft regs.

The leagues want to take the executive director’s stance out of the equation entirely. In their ideal world, a simple request will unlock whatever bettor data they want, according to their suggestion:

“If a sports governing body notifies the Director that real-time information sharing for wagers placed on its sporting events is necessary and desirable, a regulated entity shall share the same information with the sports governing body or its designee with respect to wagers on its sporting events. Such information may be provided in anonymized form and may be used by a sports governing body solely for integrity purposes.”

Don’t license the leagues, though

Leagues say they’re focused on integrity. One would assume, then, they agree any organization with access to that kind of data should be vetted and licensed.

They don’t.

The draft regs clearly state anyone that “manages, administers, or controls the games on which wagers are initiated, received, or made on a sports betting platform” should be licensed as a supplier. The leagues disagree.

“As written, this definition is overbroad, and can be interpreted to include sports governing bodies; however, we do not believe it was the Board’s intention to require all entities that ‘administer . . . games’ to obtain supplier licenses.”

DraftKings, Penn want advertising rules relaxed

Penn National, which should launch its Barstool Sportsbook app this month, made an interesting point on advertisement approvals.

The proposed regulations suggest advertisements must always be submitted to regulators and approved. That could handcuff operators unnecessarily, though, especially with events that have a quick turnaround time, Penn said:

“By mandating an approval process for all advertising efforts, this will impact the ability to get promotions quickly posted, which is extremely important given the fast-paced nature of sports (e.g. playoff series being extended). This extra approval process could cost the Commonwealth taxable revenue, through these missed advertising opportunities.”

Those other ones though …

Not all of Penn’s suggestions were winners, though. For example, the company wants operators to be allowed to imply someone’s chances of winning increase the more one bets or spends.

DraftKings Sportsbook, meanwhile, wants to eliminate a regulation that would prevent them from including colleges in their advertisements. Betting on Virginia’s colleges isn’t allowed, but out-of-state college betting is.

“Wager options in Virginia will include college sports, and advertising should be able to reflect the full scope of wager options in order to draw bettors to the legal market.”

Penn wants to cancel bets on palps too

Sportsbooks can only cancel bets after they’re placed with permission from regulators in the draft regulations. Penn National wants operators to have the power to cancel bets if it says they can in their house rules.

“We respectfully recommend allowing operators to unilaterally rescind wagers in accordance with their approved house rules. Palpable errors are rare, but they do happen, and operators should be able to handle these situations based on house rules that are approved by the VA Lottery.”

Operators face different rules on this in most states. Some, like Indiana, allow books to cancel bets over obvious mistakes, although they remain subject to regulatory review of decisions.

In New Jersey, it’s not that easy. That’s why the same mistake by a FanDuel Sportsbook vendor led to paid bets in New Jersey and not Indiana.

he New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement wrote after the most recent FanDuel palp:

“DGE’s general policy is to not automatically void wagers when errors occur on the part of sports wagering operators. Although operators are free to request that those wagers be voided after patrons have placed bests, DGE treats those requests on a case-by-case basis.

“This practice encourages operators to have appropriate controls in place to avoid offering erroneous sports wagers, and they reinforce the integrity of sports wagering in New Jersey and confidence in the industry by the public.”

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Matthew Waters

Matthew Waters is a reporter covering legal sports betting and the gambling industry. Previous stops include Fantini Research and various freelance jobs covering professional and amateur sports in Delaware and the Philadelphia area.

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