The SCALER Weekly 4/3/24

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

SharpRank’s weekly updates on Compliance, Audit, Legislation, Ethics, & Regulation within the Sports Betting Industry.

Major Gaming Firms Launch ROGA for Responsible Gambling

Seven of the nation’s largest gaming companies, including FanDuel, DraftKings, BetMGM, and others, are teaming up to form the Responsible Online Gaming Association (ROGA) to promote responsible gaming practices and share information on problem gambling. Although the details of the group’s initiatives remain unclear, given the market share of the involved operators, it seems logical that hiring independent third parties to identify solutions, which would, in turn, help craft policy, would be a good use of the committed capital. With over 85% of the legal online betting market represented by these members, ROGA aims to address issues such as education, advertising, and best practices within the industry. The association plans to allocate over $20 million for its first year to support its initiatives. While some skeptics view ROGA as a PR move, proponents emphasize the need for collective action in light of the industry’s rapid growth and potential risks associated with problem gambling. As gambling becomes more mainstream, concerns about addiction and integrity in sports have prompted regulatory attention and calls for stricter oversight. Despite industry efforts to self-regulate and protect vulnerable customers, challenges persist.

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Georgia Sports Betting Bill Fails Amid Tax Allocation Dispute

Efforts to legalize sports betting in Georgia have stalled for another year due to disagreements among lawmakers over how tax revenue would be allocated. Despite initial progress, neither proposed legislation nor a state constitutional amendment came to a vote in the House during the 2024 legislative session. Democrats raised concerns about the proposed allocation of tax revenue, while some Republicans opposed the idea of legalizing sports betting altogether, citing concerns about addiction. Supporters argued that legalization would curb illegal gambling and provide revenue for public services, while opponents warned of the risks of addiction, especially among young people. Despite efforts to prioritize funding for gambling addiction treatment, the lack of consensus ultimately led to the bill’s failure. This year was perceived by many as a “no excuses” year and the effort fell short, leaving many to wonder if Georgia will ever legalize.

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Kentucky’s Sports Betting Regulation Evolution

Kentucky’s sports betting landscape is undergoing significant regulatory changes with the passing of House Bill 281 by the General Assembly and subsequent signing into law by Governor Andy Beshear. This bill establishes a new Division of Sports Wagering separate from the existing Division of Pari-Mutuel Wagering within the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission. Additionally, the creation of the Division of Compliance will now handle auditing revenue received by the commission, a task previously managed by the pari-mutuel division. Chauncy Morris, director of the Kentucky Thoroughbred Association, emphasizes the need for the Racing Commission to adapt to efficiently regulate newly legalized forms of gaming like sports wagering. Introduced on a bipartisan basis by Republican Rep. Michael Meredith and Democratic Reps. Al Gentry and Cherlynn Stevenson, HB 281 passed with overwhelming support in both the House and Senate before being signed into law. These changes reflect a maturing sports betting market in Kentucky, evidenced by the state surpassing revenue projections with $55 million in sports betting revenue and $15 million in tax revenue in its first three months of operation.

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New Jersey Contemplates Tax Hike for Online Gaming and Sports Betting

New Jersey is considering a potential increase in the tax rate for online casino gaming and sports wagering, with a proposed maximum rate of 30%. Senator John McKeon is leading the legislation, known as Bill S3064. However, details about the bill are currently unavailable, as it may not have been drafted yet by the Office of Legislative Services (OLS). The current tax rate for online sports wagering in New Jersey stands at 14.25%, contrasting with higher rates in Pennsylvania (36%) and New York (51%). Comparisons show that New York’s sports wagering tax revenue has surpassed New Jersey’s, highlighting potential revenue increases if New Jersey adopted a 30% tax rate. Analysis also suggests that New Jersey may have missed out on substantial revenue from online casino taxes since its inception in 2013, especially when compared to Pennsylvania’s higher tax rates. Other states like Illinois and Ohio are also contemplating tax rate increases on sports wagering, while states like Kansas and Michigan have lower rates due to promotional deductions. The potential tax increase in New Jersey could significantly impact the revenue of Atlantic City casinos, possibly leading to opposition from the industry.

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Youth Sports Betting Safety Coalition Launches in Massachusetts

Attorney General Andrea Joy Campbell announced the establishment of the Youth Sports Betting Safety Coalition during Problem Gambling Awareness Month, aiming to educate young people about the risks associated with sports betting and gambling. The coalition, consisting of various stakeholders including state agencies, professional sports teams, and nonprofit organizations, plans to develop educational programs targeting individuals aged 12-20. With the recent legalization of online sports betting in Massachusetts, concerns have risen about accessibility and problem gambling among youth. National data from the NCAA indicates high engagement in sports betting among young adults, with advertising influencing betting activity. The coalition seeks to counterbalance these influences through education and awareness initiatives. Additionally, it emphasizes the importance of addressing the public health harms associated with gambling, particularly for teenagers. The coalition’s efforts are supported by various stakeholders, including sports teams and state officials, with a focus on protecting youth from the potential negative consequences of gambling.

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Evolution of Sports Media and Gaming: Opportunities and Challenges

The landscape of sports media and gaming is rapidly evolving, characterized by increased fan engagement and interactive participation, facilitated by advancements in technology and real-time data integration. However, the industry faces regulatory and ethical challenges concerning responsible gaming practices and the integration of gambling elements into social gaming platforms. Understanding the role of media in influencing consumer choices, industry regulations, and public perception is crucial for navigating this dynamic landscape effectively. Companies like Barstool Sports and ESPN are strategically leveraging original content, sports betting integration, and affiliate sponsorship deals to drive revenue and engage audiences, catering to evolving consumer interests. As the intersection of media, gambling, and sports continues to evolve, stakeholders must adapt their strategies to leverage emerging opportunities and ensure sustainable growth in this rapidly changing landscape.

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