U.S. May Follow UK's Regulatory Crackdown, Panelist Warns

April 14, 2022
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As the UK considers tough new restrictions on online gambling, it could only be a matter of time before similar rules are proposed in the United States, according to a panel of legal experts and U.S. regulators.

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As the UK considers tough new restrictions on online gambling, it could only be a matter of time before similar rules are proposed in the United States, according to a panel of legal experts and U.S. regulators.

Speaking during an online seminar on Wednesday (April 13) sponsored by the University of New Hampshire Franklin Pierce School of Law, Oklahoma State University assistant professor John Holden noted how concerns of gambling addiction during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic have seen a sea change in policymakers’ approach to gambling regulation in what is still the largest online gambling market in the world.

Technological restrictions that reduce the frequency of sports betting and limit deposits by gamblers are among the reforms being considered in the UK, said Holden, who writes frequently on the gambling industry.

“Speaking to people in the UK, they tend to see themselves as maybe a decade ahead of the U.S. market in terms of sports betting,” Holden said.

Massachusetts is among the states which could legalize sports betting this year, but “everything is up in the air,” according to Cathy Judd-Stein, chair of the Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC).

The Massachusetts House of Representatives has passed a sports-betting bill, but the Senate has not.

If chosen as the state’s chief oversight agency for sport betting, the Massachusetts Gaming Commission will be prepared to put regulations in place, “nimbly,” Judd-Stein said.

“We always think in Massachusetts of consumer protections, and in Massachusetts we really are a leader in responsible gaming,” she said.

Last month, the commission held a consultation on new restrictions related to gambling advertising, even in advance of sports betting becoming legal.

Kristy Gale, president and CEO of HONOR Data Rights Management in Scottsdale, Arizona, said the laws and regulations regarding privacy rights in the collection of data are “ever evolving.”

The collection and use of data for sports betting have become an issue in negotiations between players’ unions and leagues in their collective bargaining agreements.

Players are reluctant to agree to the collection of data while they are competing and that information is vital to sports betting, according to Gale.

“You really want that in-game data; that’s what’s really going to fuel prop bets and other new betting products in this space,” Gale said.

Despite the resistance from players, the leagues are not going to stop trying to monetize data from athletes, Gale said.

“They all see the value, and we saw that early on a couple of years ago when the leagues tried to charge a royalty or integrity fees, which would be their cut from this athlete data,” she said.

Charlie McIntyre, executive director of the New Hampshire Lottery, said his state’s contractual relationship with DraftKings as its exclusive sports-betting operator allows the Granite State to adjust to fluctuations in the market.

“So if there’s a market-change condition in Massachusetts, we’re able to just re-negotiate our contract with DraftKings to take advantage of commercial activity at its best,” McIntyre said.

Residents of Massachusetts, which borders New Hampshire, account for a huge part of New Hampshire’s sports-betting market.

A former prosecutor of organized crime and illegal bookmakers, McIntyre quipped he has become “the chief bookmaking officer of my state.”

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