Massachusetts Sportsbook Roundtable on Customer Limitation

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  • The Massachusetts Gaming Commission today held a roundtable discussion with industry professionals about the practice of sports betting operators limiting their customers.
  • However, to the commission’s disappointment, most of the state’s sports betting operators did not participate in the public meeting.
  • The Commission emphasizes that this is just the beginning of the conversation on the practice of limiting clients

The Massachusetts Gaming Commission today held a highly anticipated roundtable discussion on the practice of limiting sports betting customers in the state, but did so without the presence of any live sports betting operators in the state.

Commission members and industry professionals discussed the practice of sportsbooks limiting customers’ sports betting activity. No proposals or regulatory changes were made, but commissioners welcomed suggestions on how this topic could be modified to better suit all parties in the future.

Despite the welcome discussion, the absence of any Massachusetts live sports betting operators at the meeting “was not a good use of the commission’s time,” according to one commissioner.

No live sports betting operators present

The roundtable was expected to include a conversation between the commission, industry experts and Massachusetts-licensed sports betting operators on the “how, when and why” of limiting sports betting sponsors in the Commonwealth.

However, Maynard surprisingly opened the roundtable with the news that no live sports betting operators would be participating in the discussion. The operators requested that the meeting be held exclusively in executive session, away from the public, which the Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC) denied in the interest of transparency.

“We are required by law to do our work in an open forum in Massachusetts. Sometimes it can be uncomfortable to have these conversations in public and we understand that. My fellow commissioners and I face this situation at almost every meeting. Without the benefit of being able to collaborate before joining a meeting, it’s difficult. But that being said, transparency is key to the integrity of the industry in Massachusetts. This commission will never compromise on transparency or integrity,” he said.

The only operator attending the roundtable was Bally’s Interactive. It has a Massachusetts sports betting license, but has not yet launched in the state.

Each of the operators submitted correspondence regarding capping practices to the MGC, which has been made publicly available. Most traders noted that if they participated in the roundtable they would be forced to disclose confidential and proprietary trade secrets, hence the request to hold the meeting in executive session.

A DraftKings spokesperson said Dime for sports betting The company declined to participate due to a number of factors.

“After careful consideration, DraftKings decided not to participate in the Massachusetts Gaming Commission’s roundtable on betting limits, because, among other things, any meaningful discussion of betting limits would necessarily involve disclosure of confidential practices. DraftKings risk management information and other commercially sensitive business information. “DraftKings looks forward to working with the Commission to explore alternative ways to contribute to this discussion, while preserving the confidentiality of that information,” the spokesperson said.

Why the need for a round table?

The need for a roundtable arose after the commission became aware of the practice of limiting clients who earn more than the average client after receiving comment from a member of the public in July 2023.

Since last summer, the Commissioner Nakisha Skinner He said it has become obvious that this is not only a practice to limit sharp objects, but also to limit regular customers who, casually or recreationally, bet and win too frequently.

“This is a much more different conversation now, because it affects many more individuals and citizens of this Commonwealth than the handful of sharp objects that might be gaming the system from the operators’ perspective. To me, this raises issues of integrity, fairness and lack of communication with the client,” she said.

Little is known about what is involved in an operator’s decision to limit customers, how they limit customers, or when these limits expire. One definite reason customers are limited by sportsbooks, Maynard noted, may be the commission’s starting point as it moves forward with this exploration.

Asking the experts

The commission turned to several industry experts to hear their opinions on the practice of limiting sponsors, the fairness of such actions, and any potential solutions to reduce this practice in the state.

Industry experts in attendance included Jack Andrewsprofessional gamer and founder of Unabated Sports; Brianne Doura Schawohl, founder of a consulting group specialized in problematic issues and responsible gambling; and Dustin Goukercontent/games consultant and former vice president of Catena Media.

justin blackA spokesperson for Bally’s Interactive said Bally’s does not limit sponsors specifically to win, but instead limits them based on underlying factors that are proprietary to the company.

All users who sign up for an account are treated the same, it noted, and their account will not be capped or capped based on a first bet or a first win.

“There are parameters based on all sports betting, but in my experience, just because someone wins, that wouldn’t necessarily limit subsequent betting,” Black said.

If operators were unable to limit individual customers, Black said it would result in product restrictions for all customers. Operators would have to institute more defensive pricing strategies, offering worse prices for certain markets and lower limits for all customers.

An industry expert said Dime for sports betting that the practice of limiting customers is “very small,” and approximately one in every 2,000 sports betting customers actually has a hard or soft limit.

Be transparent about limiting practices

A good first step, Andrews said, would be for operators to admit that they are actually limiting customers for earning too much. Why not, he asked, paint these customers with a narrower brush? If they beat a regulatory trader in NBA fixtures, limit them to just those markets, not all markets on their platform.

Also increase transparency about how much a customer is limited, he said, and actually notify them that they are being limited. Operators do not send notifications to users who are being limited and do not inform them about their new betting limits.

Having clear and concise minimum and maximum amounts for sponsors would be an effective start, he said.

He urged the MGC to consider sports betting operators that do not engage in the practice of limiting consumers, Andrews said. These operators offer smaller markets than larger companies and often find entry into states like Massachusetts too difficult.

“Their barriers to entry are very high. Their tax rates and license fees are very high,” he said.

Gouker said exploring a secondary level of sports betting licenses, specifically for betting exchange platforms, could be a potential solution for the state. Betting exchange platforms are typically peer-to-peer operators where users take opposite sides of a market, agree on a bet amount, and the operator charges a commission that does not depend on the outcome of the event.

He also said operators should provide the commission with data on how many users are capped and percentages on why they are capped, such as responsible gaming factors or winning too much.

Doura Schawohl stressed that operators should clearly indicate user limitations. Operators should not hide behind responsible gaming practices to limit users if the real reason they are being limited is their success as gamblers, she said.

Irritation of operators for not attending

The MGC emphasized in concluding the hearing that this is just the beginning of the state’s conversation about the practice of limiting users. Several commissioners also expressed annoyance that none of the operating sportsbooks attended the roundtable.

“On the one hand, I feel that we did not make good use of our time today, given that we did not have our key stakeholders as part of the discussion. I hope that we can work to change that in the future, because we need to move this needle in whatever way is appropriate, according to this body. The data is going to be important and that is a good starting point for me,” Skinner said.

Notary Brad Hill He also shared his frustrations over the lack of assistance from operators.

“I share Commissioner Skinner’s frustration and I will go so far as to say that I am angry today that we were not able to get more information than I thought we could to start this conversation. Although it started today, he did not give us the starting point that he expected us to have,” he said.