The SCALER Weekly 3/27/24

Stay up to date with the Sports Betting Industry with The SCALER Weekly.

SharpRank’s updates on Compliance, Audit, Legislation, Ethics, & Regulation.

ESPN’s Sports Betting Segment: ‘Risk-Free Investing’ Comment Sparks Controversy

The ESPN network, known for its comprehensive sports coverage, has ventured deeply into the realm of sports betting, even launching its own platform called ESPN Bet, in conjuction with Penn National Gaming. However, a recent segment featuring host Rece Davis and analyst Erin Dolan has sparked controversy. Dolan offered betting advice on an NCAA Tournament game, suggesting that Northwestern would score under 60.5 points against UConn, albeit with reservations about the certainty of the pick. Davis then peculiarly referred to Dolan’s advice as “risk-free investing,” a term met with skepticism given the inherent unpredictability of sports betting. While Davis’s remark may have been intended humorously, it underscores the challenges of ESPN’s foray into sports betting. Despite the network’s push to promote its sportsbook, the nature of betting inherently involves risk, a fact often overlooked in the pursuit of profit. The incident raises questions about the responsibility of media outlets when providing betting advice and highlights the complexities of navigating the intersection between sports coverage and gambling promotion.

The Full Story Here.

The Clock is Ticking in Georgia for Sports Betting Legislative Efforts

Efforts to legalize sports betting in Georgia face a standstill as Senate Bill 386 and Senate Resolution 579 await action in the state’s House of Representatives with only three days left in the legislative session. Despite discussions during a meeting of the House Higher Education Committee, no vote on the bill was taken, although adjustments were made, such as raising the tax rate to 25% and specifying revenue allocations to various state funds including education and capital improvements. The proposed legislation would introduce up to 16 betting apps in Georgia, allowing wagering on both college and professional sports, but does not extend to legalizing daily fantasy sports sites. With another committee meeting scheduled for Wednesday and a looming session end on Thursday, the bill’s fate remains uncertain, especially considering historical opposition from the House towards sports betting initiatives, making it challenging for supporters to secure passage before the legislative deadline. Even if the bill clears the House, it would still require voter approval in November to become law.

The Full Story Here.

NCAA Launches Draw the Line Campaign to Address Sports Betting in College Sports

The NCAA has initiated the Draw the Line campaign, focusing on educating student-athletes about the impacts of sports betting and addressing problem gambling in college sports, particularly during high-betting events like the Division I Men’s and Women’s Basketball Championships. The campaign targets college students through social media and offers resources for member schools and conferences to extend the campaign on their campuses, aiming to counter the widespread prevalence of sports betting among young adults. NCAA President Charlie Baker emphasized the importance of informing student-athletes about the risks of sports betting and advocated for policy changes at the state level to protect them from harassment and coercion. Additionally, the NCAA is collaborating with various groups to pilot initiatives combating social media harassment and expanding educational efforts to reach thousands of student-athletes, coaches, and administrators.

The Full Story Here.

Tipico Sportsbook Earns iCAP Accreditation for Customer Protection

Tipico Sportsbook has secured Internet Compliance Assessment Program (iCAP) accreditation in New Jersey and Ohio, becoming the first sportsbook in the U.S. to achieve this recognition, affirming its dedication to customer safety and responsible gambling practices. The accreditation, administered by the National Council on Problem Gambling (NCPG), acknowledges Tipico’s commitment to player protection through its Fair Play Pledge initiative, which emphasizes transparency, clear communication, and support for responsible gambling. Tipico’s Senior Vice President, Bryan Schroeder, highlighted the company’s efforts to continuously enhance safety measures and ensure a positive betting experience for customers. The accreditation process involved a comprehensive evaluation of Tipico’s governance, customer support, employee training, and responsible gaming initiatives, with the accreditation valid until March 2026. The audit of Tipico’s Responsible Gaming practices by Gambling Integrity commended the company’s dedication to player protection and responsible gambling standards, setting a high standard for the industry.

The Full Story Here.

Vermont Regulators Disclose Selection Process for Online Sportsbooks

Vermont sports betting regulators recently disclosed the scoring data utilized to choose three online sportsbooks in the state, revealing that FanDuel Sportsbook received the highest score of 3,703 points, followed by DraftKings with 3,638 points and Fanatics with 3,418 points. The evaluations, based on nine criteria including company experience, integrity, responsible gaming measures, and revenue plans, awarded points in various categories. BetMGM’s application fell short due to its revenue-sharing approach, which was deemed non-compliant, while Penn Entertainment’s submission for ESPN Bet was labeled “materially non-compliant” for missing essential criteria. Despite these exclusions, the three chosen sportsbooks have already generated $5.9 million in revenue within a short period, leading regulators to revise their fiscal projections, now expecting $8 million in tax revenue within the first year.

The Full Story Here.

Indian Government Warns Against Offshore Online Gambling Endorsements

India’s Ministry of Information and Broadcasting has issued warnings to celebrities and influencers about promoting offshore online gambling operators on social media, emphasizing potential penalties under the Consumer Protection Act and highlighting the socio-economic risks associated with such endorsements. The Central Consumer Protection Authority (CCPA) also recently cautioned against celebrity gambling advertising, aligning with multiple government advisories aimed at curbing illegal gambling promotion. Despite efforts to regulate the online gambling market and address issues such as addiction and financial crime, a significant portion of Indian online gamblers remain unaware of industry regulations, with the government taking measures such as blocking unauthorized betting apps and websites to combat illegal operators.

The Full Story Here.

NBA’s Betting Saga: Porter Scandal and Haliburton’s Concerns

The NBA found itself embroiled in controversy as two stories unfolded this week, shedding light on the complex intersection of sports and gambling.

Toronto Raptors forward Jontay Porter found himself at the center of an NBA investigation following suspicions of betting irregularities. Sources from ESPN revealed that the league was scrutinizing Porter’s involvement in prop bets during games on Jan. 26 and March 20. On both occasions, unusual betting activity coincided with Porter’s limited appearances on the court. DraftKings Sportsbook flagged Porter’s prop bets as top earners, drawing attention to atypical betting patterns observed by multiple sportsbooks. Despite his absence from recent games for personal reasons, Porter’s coach, Darko Rajaković, expressed surprise and reiterated trust in player integrity. NBA regulations strictly prohibited players and staff from participating in NBA-related betting activities, with potential consequences including fines, suspensions, and contract termination. Porter, who previously played for the Memphis Grizzlies, had faced injuries but debuted with the Raptors in 2021, contributing modest statistics across 26 games this season.

Meanwhile, Indiana Pacers guard Tyrese Haliburton voiced his concerns about the pervasive influence of sports betting within the basketball community. Haliburton lamented being viewed solely as a commodity for bettors’ financial gain rather than as a human being. He highlighted the omnipresence of sports betting content on social media platforms and emphasized the importance of recognizing athletes beyond their on-court performances. Haliburton’s remarks echoed the sentiments of Cleveland Cavaliers coach J.B. Bickerstaff, who disclosed receiving threatening messages from disgruntled gamblers. Despite mounting apprehensions, the NBA announced plans to introduce in-app live betting to NBA League Pass, signaling the league’s endorsement of the burgeoning trend.

The league is confronted the complexities of maintaining integrity and preserving the humanity of its athletes in an increasingly interconnected world of sports and gambling.

The Full Story Here.

Call for Federal Sports Betting Regulation Amid Ohtani Scandal

In the midst of a scandal involving Japanese interpreter Ippei Mizuhara and baseball phenom Shohei Ohtani, a spotlight has been cast on the urgent need for regulation within the sports betting industry, prompting lawmakers Paul Tonko and Richard Blumenthal to advocate for action. Tonko’s SAFE Bet Act and Blumenthal’s GRIT Act represent efforts to tackle the issue of problem gambling, proposing regulations on sports betting at the state level and measures to safeguard vulnerable individuals from exploitation. Despite resistance from the American Gaming Association, mounting concerns surrounding the industry’s rapid expansion and potential harm to individuals fuel bipartisan support for addressing problem gambling.

As MLB launched an investigation into allegations surrounding Mizuhara’s illegal betting activities using Ohtani’s bank account, Ohtani himself stepped forward to address the media, vehemently denying any involvement in sports betting and asserting his ignorance of the situation until after a team meeting in Korea. Mizuhara initially claimed Ohtani had paid off gambling debts but later recanted, leaving lingering questions about Ohtani’s innocence in the scandal. The controversy erupted during the MLB season opener in South Korea, where sports betting remains illegal, exacerbating the scrutiny on Mizuhara’s actions. Dodgers manager Dave Roberts offered his support for Ohtani’s public statement and emphasized that the situation had not disrupted team morale. Amidst the unfolding scandal, the need for regulatory measures to prevent similar incidents and protect the integrity of sports remains paramount.

The Full Story Here.

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