Leagues Win Data Access Request In Virginia Sports Betting Regulations

Posted on September 15, 2020

There were not many massive changes in the Virginia sports betting permanent regulations from the drafted suggestions. One, however, gives sports leagues access to a lot of data whenever they request it.

The Virginia Lottery Board approved the permanent regulations for sports betting at their meeting this week. But there’s still likely four months before sports betting can get started.

The next major step comes when applications open Oct. 15 through Oct. 31. A 90-day clock begins once the regulator receives a completed application.

That puts sports betting in Virginia on track to start in time for betting on NFL Playoff games in January.

Leagues win Virginia sports betting data access

A request that seemed like it had little chance to succeed was surprisingly approved by Virginia regulators.

The draft regulations stated leagues could get “real-time information sharing for wagers” if the lottery’s executive director deemed that data was necessary for the leagues to have.

The MLB, NBA and PGA Tour, however, all made it clear they didn’t think the director’s discretion was necessary. Surprisingly, the lottery agreed.

Now, leagues can get information regarding a bet’s amount, type, time it was placed, where it was placed including the IP address and the outcome of a bet whenever they request it from sportsbook operators in the state.

Leagues must be licensed, though

Even though the three leagues wanted access to all that data, they didn’t think they needed to be licensed in the state.

That’s a change that was not granted, however.

The state’s definition of a supplier includes entities that “manages, administers, or controls the games on which wagers are initiated, received or made on a sports betting platform.”

Leagues will probably argue that their intermediaries on the data side will be the ones who need licensed.

‘Principal’ definition still not clear

There were some concerns from sportsbook operators over the enabling law that called for $50,000 per principal to cover background checks.

The definition wasn’t clear then, and it still isn’t super clear. A “principal” is defined as anyone that owns more than 5% of the sports betting operator, the CEO, its sports betting supplier and anyone that works within the state of Virginia.

Regulators have a plan to make sure operators know who exactly they mean, though. Operators can request a meeting with the regulators and have the regulators walk through all of the requirements of the application process before it opens next month.

Virginia sports betting advertising rules relaxed

Virginia initially wanted sportsbook operators to submit all of their marketing materials for approval.

That was removed from the permanent regs.

Now, sportsbooks have to maintain records of their ads and make those available to the executive director upon request.

Changes in responsible gaming regulations

In a somewhat chilly stance on problem gambling, Caesars requested a change to regulations concerning third-party exclusion requests. Caesars said that could be abused and that it was overall up to the problem gambler to stop gambling.

The regulators listened. Now, instead of sportsbooks having to come up with procedures to honor requests from third parties, they simply need to consider those requests.

Another operator-friendly change is that anyone who self-excludes does not have their bets voided immediately. Some suggested this could have led to bettors excluding themselves when they know a bet will lose.

No voiding bets without permission

Penn National requested the ability for sports betting operators to void bets whenever an obvious is made. The only requirement Penn suggested was outlining the voiding procedure in its 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,” Penn said.

That wasn’t granted, though. Bets can only be voided with the approval of the executive director.

No Olympics betting in Virginia, either

There’s nothing preventing Virginia’s sports betting operators from taking bets on the Olympics in the enabling law.

But the many requests from operators to include betting on the Olympics were denied by regulators. The lottery was concerned there could be minors involved in the events.

This could eventually change, though. Gina Smith, the Lottery’s deputy director for gaming compliance, noted there’s still “plenty of opportunity” between now and the start of the Tokyo games next summer for the legislature to make a change and specifically allow Olympic betting.

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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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