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8/25/20  3:25 pm
Commenter: DraftKings

 DraftKings Comments on VAC 5-80 Sports Betting Consumer Protection Program (Sections 20-50)
 

DraftKings Comments on VAC 5-80 Sports Betting Consumer Protection Program (Sections 20-50)

PLEASE NOTE text in underlined bold denotes an insertion and text between [brackets] denotes a deletion.

CONSUMER PROTECTION

11 VAC 5-80-20           Sports bettor’s bill of rights

A. A permit holder shall make conspicuously available [publish prominently] on its platform a link to the Virginia Sports Bettors’ Bill of Rights [in the form established and made] available [by] on the Department’s [on its] website.

DraftKings respectfully requests the above modifications to allow a permit holder to place a graphic or link on its sports betting platform to allow individuals to access the Virginia Sports Bettors’ Bill of Rights on the Department’s website. This would allow the Department to control the display of the Bill of Rights and not require permit holders to build a new page into their sports betting platforms, which can be a substantial technology build.

B. A permit holder may not, as a condition of use of the permit holder’s platform, require any player to waive any right[, forum, or procedure including the right to pursue legal action or] to file a complaint with, or otherwise notify, [any instrument of the state or federal government, including the Commonwealth’s Attorney, law enforcement, courts, and state and federal agencies,] the Department of any alleged violation of the Virginia Sports Gaming Law, these regulations or any other applicable law, regulation, or administrative policy.

As is common practice for many businesses with large numbers of customers, sports wagering operators may include in their terms of use arbitration clauses to properly and efficiently resolve consumer concerns. Such terms are critical to ensure prompt and cost-effective resolution to disputes, thereby keeping costs lower for the operator and consumers. Virginia law allows arbitration agreements in commercial contracts and the General Assembly did not contemplate banning such measures in Article 2 of the Virginia Lottery Act, and therefore this provision should be modified to permit the use of arbitration agreements.

C. A permit holder’s platform site must provide substantial and readily available information to enable players to make informed decisions about their gambling, including:

1. [With regard to any sports bet, prominent publication of] Conspicuously available information related to, at a minimum:

a. [The handle of the bet] The potential payout of a wager per amount of money being risked;

b. [The odds of winning the bet and the information used to calculate those odds] The posted odds; [and]

c. [3.] The payout [amounts and a schedule of payouts] procedures.

DraftKings respectfully requests the above modifications be adopted to ensure bettors receive information that is relevant to their decision-making in placing a bet.  No sports betting jurisdiction in the country requires operators to post the handle of a bet (handle being the total amount wagered by all bettors). The handle of the bet does not inform a bettor’s chances of winning a wager at the posted lines or odds, and is proprietary information to the permit holder.  Similarly, the information used to calculate the posted odds is proprietary and it’s not clear how this would be easily explained to a customer.  Finally, the odds of winning are not fixed or even ascertainable because a wager on a real-life sporting event does not have precise quantifiable odds in the way that a lottery ticket with a fixed number of outcomes has. Sportsbooks use their knowledge and expertise to quantify and try to offer balanced odds but the nature of sports betting is that the odds of winning cannot be known with certainty by any party in advance, including the operator.  DraftKings respectfully suggests the above modifications which will help inform a bettor’s decision-making in placing a wager, without posing a novel and perhaps unachievable standard on operators that has never been used in the industry. 

DraftKings respectfully requests the above modifications for similar reasons to the requested changes to 11 VAC 5-80-20(C)(1)(a). We believe providing information to sports bettors about how to read odds and understand the potential outcome of their bets is of the utmost importance. Through this description, a permit holder will also partially address how odds are calculated. For example, if describing to an individual the difference between a line that is -500 and one that is +500, the important factor is that the -500 bet would be on an outcome that is very likely to occur compared to the +500 bet which is very unlikely to occur based on the information available.

 C. A permit holder’s platform site must provide substantial and readily available information to enable players to make informed decisions about their gambling, including:

2. Information on play (e.g., player feedback); and

DraftKings respectfully requests clarification on the above language. As written, it is unclear whether this requirement is addressing any or all of the following: sport settlement rules (how different bets are graded and paid out), a player’s information about their sports wagering (wager history), or the player complaint process, which is covered in 11 VAC 5-80-30.

C. A permit holder’s platform site must provide substantial and readily available information to enable players to make informed decisions about their gambling, including:

3. [Designated p]Player information or support services regarding player management tools.

Similar to our comments above to 11 VAC 5-80-20 C. 2., DraftKings respectfully requests clarification on the above language and also respectfully requests the word “designated” be removed. The term “player information” can be interpreted many ways, but generally, sports wagering operators are required in other jurisdictions to make summary statements of a player’s wagering activity available to them on request that includes information like deposit and withdrawal history, wager history, and responsible gaming limit history. The term “support services regarding player management tools” can also be interpreted many ways, but generally, sports wagering operators are required to provide responsible gaming information and features for bettors.

11 VAC 5-80-30           Consumer complaints

A. A permit holder shall develop and prominently publish procedures by which a sports bettor may file a complaint with the permit holder [in person, in writing, online, or by other means about any aspect of the sports betting program].

DraftKings respectfully requests the above language be removed as it could create practical problems for permit holders. Article 2 of the Virginia Lottery Law allows for permit holders to offer their sports betting platforms through websites, apps, or other platforms accessible via the Internet, and mandating that permit holders offering a purely online product take complaints in writing or in-person is impractical.

D. All escalated complaints received by a permit holder from a sports bettor and the permit holder's responses to such complaints shall be retained by the permit holder for at least four years and made available to the Department within seven days of any request from the Department.

DraftKings respectfully suggests that the recordkeeping requirements should be limited only to escalated complaints that require follow up from the permit holder. We provide this suggestion because, in the normal course of business, sports betting operators regularly receive minor complaints that do not implicate any consumer protection or operational requirements raised by the law or regulations, and only the substantive complaints should be subject to a recordkeeping requirement. 

11 VAC 5-80-40           Prohibition on out-of-state betting

A permit holder shall ensure that only people physically located in Virginia are able to place bets through its Virginia-facing sports betting platform.

DraftKings respectfully requests the above modifications to clarify the intent of this requirement. Sports betting operators use geolocation services to ensure only people located in a certain jurisdiction can wager in that jurisdiction. However, we would like to clarify that sports betting operators use the same sports betting platform across different jurisdictions (e.g. the DraftKings Sportsbook App) that is automatically tailored to match the requirements of each jurisdiction it is operating in. Read literally, this requirement could prevent the use of the app in other states, which DraftKings believes is against the legislative intent of Article 2 of the Virginia Lottery Act.

11 VAC 5-80-50           Underage betting

A. A permit holder shall implement age-verification procedures approved by the Department to verify that an individual is at least 21 years of age and require an individual to acknowledge the legal age for sports betting and that no sports bet [is] may be placed by or on behalf of an individual under the age of 21. [Procedures for verifying an individual’s age that satisfy this requirement include:

1. Providing a verification form to be signed by the individual and returned to the permit holder by postal mail, facsimile, or electronic scan;

2. Requiring the individual, in connection with a monetary transaction, to use a credit card, debit card, or other online payment system that provides notification of each discrete transaction to the primary account holder;

3. Having the individual call a toll-free telephone number staffed by trained personnel;

4. Having the individual contact trained personnel via video conferencing technology; or

5. Checking a form of government-issued identification provided by the individual against databases of such information, provided that the individual's identification is deleted from the permit holder's records promptly after the verification procedure is complete.]

DraftKings respectfully requests the above modifications be adopted to better conform with the robust and effective age verification measures currently implemented by sports betting operators. The procedures identified in 11 VAC 5-80-50 A. 1 – 5. do not align with the way the sports betting industry performs age verification. During account creation, sports betting operators perform identification verification by collecting certain information (name, address, date of birth, Social Security Number or Last four numbers of Social Security Number, etc.) and use industry-approved vendors to verify identity based on that information. Any patrons who cannot be positively identified using that information are prohibited from creating an account until they upload documentation to customer support for review, such as valid state-issued forms of identification. On DraftKings’ platform, if a player attempts to verify a date of birth below the minimum age of eligibility, the system automatically applies restrictions to that account and the individuals are subject to review by our risk management team. This process, and the process other sports betting operators use, is effective in verifying age and consistent with identification methods used by other secure ecommerce providers. For those reasons, DraftKings respectfully requests the Director remove the proscriptive requirements around how a permit holder identifies age, and instead reserve the right to approve the process. We believe this will benefit permit holders and the Director, ultimately creating a sports betting industry in Virginia that prevents underage betting. These changes also appear consistent with 11 VAC 5-70-210.

B. A permit holder shall promptly refund the balance of a sports betting account and close the sports betting account if the permit holder determines a sports betting account has been accessed by or used to place any [money] wagers[ed] by or on behalf of a minor. [A permit holder may withhold and, if practicable and as approved by the Department, redistribute to other winners any prize won by a minor upon a good faith determination, following reasonable investigation, that the minor misrepresented his age in order to place a sports bet.]

DraftKings respectfully requests the above modification to align with how sports betting operators deal with accounts that have been determined to have bets placed through access by a minor or on behalf of a minor. Specifically, DraftKings has a zero-tolerance policy and will immediately close that account and refund the remaining account balance. The second sentence of this requirement is not applicable to traditional sports betting, and may only apply to bets on things like pools, and the process of what happens when a bet is voided or cancelled by a permit holder will be described in their house rules.

[C. A permit holder shall make available, prominently publish, and facilitate parental control procedures to allow parents or guardians to exclude minors from access to any sports betting platform.]

DraftKings respectfully requests the above requirement be removed entirely, as it is not applicable. Due to the identity and age verification procedures sports betting operators use, only users 21 and over are able to create a sports betting account. Further, in our proposed changes to 11 VAC 5-80-50 A. we suggest requiring that individuals acknowledge the legal age for sports betting and that no sports bet may be placed by or on behalf of an individual under the age of 21. Finally, if there is any concern as to misuse of the platform or a violation of the terms and conditions those concerns can be reported through the consumer complaint process.

CommentID: 84230