Virginia’s Proposed Sports Betting Regulations Under Fire From Gambling Operators

  • Operators believe the Sports Bettors Bill of Rights contains major problems 
  • FanDuel and DraftKings have spoken out against portions of the regulations
  • Companies particularly disagree with self-exclusion and data transparency rules
  • The Lottery will consider all public comments and vote on the regulations next week
Rules and Regulations stamps
Sports betting operators are not pleased with draft regulations published by the Virginia Lottery. [Image: Shutterstock.com]

Taking issue

Sports betting operators have publicly expressed their displeasure with certain rules and consumer protection measures that the Virginia Lottery has put in place for the new industry. State officials released the sports betting regulations for public review back in August; the time period for consideration ended on September 9. The Lottery Board is now set to vote on the new rules next Tuesday.

has drawn the ire of operators

One section of the drafted regulations is called the Sports Bettors Bill of Rights. This particular section has drawn the ire of operators like FanDuel and DraftKings.

Real-time information requirements unwiedly

The Sports Bettors Bill of Rights seems to be the main point of contention for operators. It includes a rule that requires sites to provide consumers with data that helps them make informed decisions about their gambling. Such information needs to include the odds of winning the bet plus explaining how the odds were configured. The platform is also supposed to provide handle data and payout amounts.

Both FanDuel and DraftKings have shown zero support for this regulation. They say no other state in the US has such a requirement for this type of information in real-time. As part of their argument on the matter, FanDuel pointed out that they recently offered bets on an NBA Playoff game. On this one game, they had 24 types of wagers with over 300 potential outcomes. The game also had almost an unlimited number of possible parlay options.

This example is one that shows it is a logistical challenge to configure the information the Lottery is requesting on such a large scale. The sites argue that they do not have the screen space nor the processing capabilities to provide such details.

create a demonstrably worse user experience”

In its formal comments on the draft regulations, Fanduel said: “This requirement would force a re-engineering of the products, to create a demonstrably worse user experience…”

FanDuel stated further that the information is immaterial to the odds calculation as well as the payout the bettor would receive on the wager.

Self-exclusion rules need reworking

Another problem the operators have with the regulations is the self-exclusion process. The state wants players to have the ability to voluntarily ban themselves from sports betting.

Players would have the ability to self-ban for two years, five years, or for life. They can do so if they provide detailed information such as their social security number and telephone number.

According to the drafted sports betting regulations, a player who is self-banned and is found to be betting should have their account frozen by the provider. Their “winnings or other things of value” should then be seized. The operators feel they should just take the player’s winnings instead of all the money in their account.

Some companies also suggested that the process be changed to allow bettors to use the Lottery website to self-exclude, instead of using the sports betting app. Caesars Entertainment likened this to an individual walking into a casino to ban themselves from the casino.

Advertising restriction complaints

Yet another problem operators have with the regulations involves advertising. There are strict rules in place on how companies may advertise. Minors cannot be targeted and all materials for advertising, marketing, and promotions must be shared with the Lottery and approved before they are applied to the platform.

Sports betting operators say this puts an added strain on them as they would not be able to post options quickly. Some companies suggested that they be allowed to notify regulators of their plans and then go ahead with the campaigns without formal approval.

Lottery will monitor and consider all public comments

Lottery spokeswoman Jennifer Mullen said that the Lottery will monitor and consider all public comments as they create the final draft of regulations.

Once the regulations have been finalized, the Lottery will start accepting applications for permits in October.