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9/8/20  2:17 pm
Commenter: FanDuel

FanDuel Comments on Virginia Consumer Protection Regulations (11 VAC 5-80-120)
 

11 VAC 5-80-120 Protections for at-risk or problem bettors

 

Subsections (A) and (B) of this section require permit holders to provide sports bettors with the opportunity to self-exclude or set self-imposed limits on their own activity.  Self-exclusion and player self-limits are vital tools to assist bettors wager responsibly.  However, the provisions of these subsections would be improved by additional clarification on the implementation of the player self-limits to ensure consistency with standard practices in other states.

 

Subsection (C) of this section prohibits permit holders from marketing “by mail, phone, email, or social media or by knowingly directing any form of individually targeted advertisement or marketing material to a sports bettor, if the sports bettor is self-excluded or otherwise barred from participating in sports betting.”  Prohibiting direct marketing to self-excluded individuals is a standard industry practice and is required by statute and/or regulation in numerous states.  However, the provisions of this subsection would be improved by additional clarification on the implementation of this prohibition to ensure consistency with standard practices in other states.

 

Subsection (G) of this section requires permit holders to develop and prominently publish procedures to allow third parties to exclude or set limits for sports bettors.  While we understand the concerns highlighted by the provisions of this subsection, we do not think it is best practice to have a third-party exclusion/limit system as the value of exclusion and player limits comes from the bettor themselves making such a decision.  If such a requirement is forced upon them by a third party, they are likely to continue gambling elsewhere (i.e. using illegal offshore sportsbooks).  Thus, this subsection should be removed.

 

Subsections (H) and (I) of this section place requirements on permit holders relating to having systems in their platform to identify players who are “at risk of having or developing problem gambling” and recording interactions regarding “gambling problems with players.”  We support the premise of these subsections with minor suggestions to improve their implementation.

 

To address the concerns raised above, we suggest the following changes to 11 VAC 5-80-120:

 

“A.  In accordance with chapter 60 of this subtitle sports bettors have the right to self-exclude from and to self-impose restrictions on their participation in sports betting in the Commonwealth. Sports bettors may self-exclude through the voluntary exclusion program as provided in § 58.1-4015.1 or directly with a permit holder. In addition to participation in the voluntary exclusion program as provided in § 58.1-4015.1, a permit holder shall honor requests from a sports bettor to self-exclude from all sports betting activities, to set deposit limits for a given time period, to set limits on the sports bettor’s total betting activity during a given time period, or to limit [participation] individual wagers to an amount [bets] below an established limit [on a platform owned by the permit holder].

 

B.  A permit holder shall institute and prominently publish procedures for sports bettors to implement the restrictions provided in subsection A. Such procedures shall include, at a minimum:

 

  1. Opportunities to self-exclude from or to set self-imposed limits on any sports betting platform used by that sports bettor to make deposits into a segregated account; and
  2. [Options to set pop-up warnings concerning excessive sports betting activity: and 

3.]  Options to implement self-imposed [permit holder-enforced] timeouts. Sports bettors shall have the option to adjust self-imposed limits to make them more restrictive as often as they like but shall not have the option to make limits less restrictive within 90 days of setting such limits.

 

  1. A permit holder shall not directly target any self-excluded or prohibited sports bettor with marketing [sports betting] by mail, phone, email, or social media or by knowingly directing any form of individually targeted advertisement or marketing material to a self-excluded or prohibited sports bettor [if the sports bettor is self-excluded or otherwise barred from participating in sports betting].

G. [A permit holder shall develop and prominently publish procedures for honoring requests made by third parties to exclude or set limits for sports bettors. Such procedures shall include provisions for honoring requests to exclude sports bettors for whom the requester provides documentary evidence of sole or joint financial responsibility for the source of any funds wagered on sports betting on a platform owned by the permit holder, including:

  1. Proof that the requester is jointly obligated on the credit or debit card associated with the sports bettor's wagers, 
  2. Proof of legal dependency of the sports bettor on the requester under state or federal law, or

3.Proof of the existence of a court order that makes the requester wholly or partially obligated for the debts of the individual for whom exclusion is requested; and

4. Provide for exclusion in situations in which the requester establishes the existence of a court order requiring the sports bettor to pay unmet child support obligations.

 

H.]  A permit holder [’s platform] shall have systems in place to identify players who may be at risk of having or developing [problem gambling] issues with responsible gaming to enable staff to respond appropriately.

 

[I.] H.  A permit holder shall maintain a database for recording interactions regarding responsible gaming [gambling problems] with players and a clear protocol for documenting and using the data to assist players.”

CommentID: 84505