As nearly two dozen states mull over sports betting legislation, and a sixth just passed a law about it, the debate rages on about the best frameworks to offer wagers.
The major sports leagues claim a small percentage of handle should go to them. Why, you ask? To monitor the integrity of sports matches in their respective leagues.
Leagues are lobbying for as much as one percent of revenue for them written into legislation. Meanwhile, the National Council on Problem Gambling (NCPG) has a much better way to spend one percent of sports betting money: problem gambling-related funding.
The NCPG released its recommendations on how states should handle sports betting should the Supreme Court rule in favor of New Jersey in the state’s case challenging the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA). The percentage going to problem gambling prevention is one of several suggestions by the group.
Regulation suggestions include same age limits for betting and DFS
The regulations are timely, as March is Problem Gambling Awareness month. The organization hopes any states considering legislation incorporates its suggestions into the bill’s language.
Here is a look at what the NCPG is asking for:
- Dedicated funds to help support problem gambling prevention and research
- Self-exclusion technology for bettors to limit money spent or self-exclude for a period of time
- Appoint a regulatory body to oversee and monitor problem gambling prevention
- Be consistent about age limits for fantasy sports and sports betting
That last point is the one that could ruffle some feathers. As many know, the daily fantasy sports industry insists it is not gambling. As such, the industry likely will not abide by excluding players between 18-20 years old. On the sports betting side, you are not going to convince US casinos to alter the 21 and up regulations just for the sports books either.
So where does that leave this last point? Currently, the only state with DFS restrictions of 21 and over is Massachusetts.
These DFS rules are already law, so it is extremely unlikely state will embrace the age-related suggestion from NCPG. Even if it makes total sense.
States need to dedicate money to problem gambling research, prevention
When it comes to how much states should spend on problem gambling-related causes, the NCPG has the same request as the sports leagues–one percent.
The organization wants more than just lip service too. It suggests programs with measurable goals and progress in its release:
Sports betting operators must be required to have responsible gaming programs. These programs should be specified in the regulations. The operator must have a written plan with measurable objectives, and an annual report on the progress towards these goals must be provided to the regulator and available for public review. Compliance with the RG regulations and plan performance should be a condition of licensure and renewal.
Additionally, the group says no state should be able to offer sports betting without RG funding written into the law.
Unlike the league’s vague ideas about what one percent of handle would do to keep games on the up and up, NCPG has concrete goals and ideas for that money.
The money goes to programs. The group also suggests frequent research using surveys, especially about new technologies like mobile betting apps.
Most importantly though, the NCPG regulatory suggestions offer something no league has mentioned yet: accountability that the money going for responsible gambling measures yields results.