Betr co-founder Jake Paul’s tumultuous past was put under the spotlight last week by state regulators during a thorough examination of his entity’s suitability for an untethered online MA sports betting license.
At issue were concerns about Paul’s massive social media following and its potential impact regarding responsible gaming as Betr looks to move into the legal Massachusetts sports betting market.
In addition, the MA Gaming Commission questioned the celebrity boxer on potential integrity issues, along with a litany of legal matters.
Betr, which just went live in its first state in Ohio, is looking to join the MA market with an emphasis on microbetting.
MA sports betting license process
Legal online sports betting is slated to go live in the state in early March prior to the start of the NCAA Tournament. The MGC plans to further examine and vote on the six untethered operators on Jan. 18-19.
In addition to Betr, Bally Bet, Betway, DraftKings, FanDuel and PointsBet are all seeking untethered licenses.
Bally Bet and FanDuel presented before the commission prior to Betr taking its turn Tuesday.
Paul attends MA hearing
Paul has 21.6 million followers on Instagram. He was present for the entire hearing conducted by the MGC.
Before delving into his legal past, Paul explained that he was under a microscope growing up due to being in the public eye. As a result, essentially, people were out to get him.
“I’ve made my share of mistakes and have messed up and have grown up in the public spotlight and done stupid things (that) I’ve learned from,” Paul said.
Paul’s long list of legal matters
The main three legal matters of interest to the commission:
- A $100 million defamation suit against Paul filed in September.
- Allegations of sexual assault in 2019 against Paul by Justine Paradise. Paul called that allegation “complete blasphemy.”
- A SafeMoon cryptocurrency class-action lawsuit from February. The suit claimed celebrities, including Paul, were used to lure investors in what was essentially a Ponzi scheme.
Commissioners Eileen O’Brien and Nakisha Skinner wanted more information on the first and third items, which remain pending, including the complaints.
Commissioners Bradford Hill and Jordan Maynard, and chair Cathy Judd-Stein, appeared satisfied by the answers provided in terms of overall suitability.
Paul says he has matured
Paul also went through a number of other legal issues.
“In general, nothing or very little has come from these shocking headlines,” Paul said. “I’ve never been convicted of a crime.”
In 2018, Paul’s “predatory marketing tactics” were put under the spotlight. O’Brien pointed out her concern that this could continue into sports betting given his massive social media following.
“Five years ago, the amount of hit pieces and people trying to attack me was absurd,” Paul said. “But five years ago I also was a YouTuber, I was 20 years old, not mature. Now, for the past 3.5 years, I’ve been a professional athlete so I’ve gone away from that world. I don’t nearly put out as much content and my focus everyday is my training and focusing on my fights.”
MA sports betting integrity concerns
Recently, Paul signed a deal with the Professional Fighters League to compete in mixed-martial arts contests.
That raised conflict of interest and integrity issues with the commission around what bouts Betr could offer. The MGC must approve any contest an operator wishes to take bets on.
“If there’s any conflict of interest, we won’t go near it,” Paul said.
Betr exec addresses latency issues
Betr co-founder Joey Levy addressed concerns regarding latency, which deals with the timing between broadcasts and betting markets. Levy said the app currently works best as a single-screen experience, but believes a second-screen experience could be better down the road.
Betr employees appeared to glean from previous hearings, as their presentation was more beefed up surrounding diversity goals and working with the lottery.