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9/9/20  10:51 pm
Commenter: Aimee Perron Seibert, Hard Rock International

Comments on Proposed Online Sports Betting Regulations (Part 1 of 2)
 

On behalf of Hard Rock International, please find our comments below on the proposed sports betting regulations.  We appreciate the opportunity to provide the comments and the efforts of the Lottery Board to quickly, yet thoroughly, draft regulations and begin the process to allow sports betting in the Commonwealth. We at Hard Rock look forward to the opportunity to participate and are happy to be a resource to the Board if any questions should arise.  Please do not hesitate to contact us with any questions or concerns about the comments we submitted.

 

Item 1

Regulatory Provision

Prohibition on wagering on Olympics. (11 VAC 5-70-10 and 11 VAC 5-80-10)

Comments for the Lottery Board

We recommend this prohibition be removed. It is not a required prohibition in the Code and no discussion about it came up during the legislative process.

 

Item 2

Regulatory Provision

Requirement that “sports governing body” be headquartered in the US. (11 VAC 5-70-10)

Comments for the Lottery Board

We recommend striking the language “be headquartered in the United States.” Such a requirement would exclude all major European sports leagues.

 

Item 3

Regulatory Provision

Applications and required fees for permits will be accepted by the Director only during the initial permit application period, and thereafter, during an annual permit application period, as defined in these regulations. (11 VAC 5-70-20 (A)(3))

Comments for the Lottery Board

We request more clarity on the dates and time frame for the application periods, both the initial application period beginning in the fall of 2020 and any subsequent annual application period. 

 

Item 4

Regulatory Provision

The application for each principal license shall be accompanied by a wire transfer of $50,000, $1,000 of which shall be considered a license fee, with the remainder constituting a non-refundable initial   deposit   toward   the   Department’s   administrative   costs   to   conduct   the   background   investigation of the applicant. (11 VAC 5-70-60 (E))

Comments for the Lottery Board

We request more specificity on who qualifies as, or is required by the Lottery Board to be, a principal of the sports betting operation. 

 

Item 5

Regulatory Provision

The application, backgrounding, and license fee for a sports betting employee license or renewal is $500. (11 VAC5-70-90 (C))

Comments for the Lottery Board

We request more specificity about who is defined as a “sports betting employee.” Is that anyone working in online support, marketing, operations, etc. that service the Virginia sports betting market and therefore, all would need a license?

 

Item 6

Regulatory Provision

All requested data shall be made available in the report formats and database formats required by the Director. (11 VAC5-70-160 (G))

Comments for the Lottery Board

We recommend that the data formats required by the Director be standard formats that are used in other states.

 

Item 7

Regulatory Provision

By written request in the form and format required by the Director, a sports governing body may ask the Director to restrict, limit, or prohibit sports betting on its sporting events, or to restrict the types of bets on such sporting events that may be offered by a permit holder. (11 VAC5-70-180 (A))

Comments for the Lottery Board

We want to ensure that this applies across the board to all operators and that a sports governing body cannot just restrict betting by one operator. 

 

Item 8

Regulatory Provision

The sports governing body is unable to provide, on commercially reasonable terms as determined by the Director, a feed of official league data; (11 VAC5-70-190 (1))

Comments for the Lottery Board

We request more specificity about what benchmarks will used to determine "commercially reasonable terms.”

 

Item 9

Regulatory Provision

A permit holder shall prohibit an individual who is barred by the sports betting law from placing a wager on a sporting event from collecting payouts or winnings from its sport betting operation. (11 VAC5-70-210 (F))

Comments for the Lottery Board

We request more clarity on the Director’s prescribed method for barring banned individuals from betting in Virginia. We are not aware of a definitive list of such persons to block from placing a bet.  Our current Terms and Conditions already expressly bar individuals who are banned from wagering in Virginia.

 

Item 10

Regulatory Provision

A permit holder shall maintain membership in the Global Lottery Monitoring System (GLMS) or other integrity monitoring association or contract with an integrity monitoring system provider as approved by the Department. (11 VAC5-70-220 (A))

Comments for the Lottery Board

We recommend using Sports Wagering & Integrity Monitoring Association (SWIMA) as the main membership instead of GLMS because SWIMA is active in all other US sports betting jurisdictions, resulting in more data being shared among operators to identify potential integrity issues. 

 

Item 11

Regulatory Provision

A regulated entity shall share with the Director, upon request by the Director, in the form and format required by the Director and in real time and at the account level, information regarding a bettor,  amount  and  type  of  wager,  the  time  the  wager  was  placed,  the  location  of  the  wager,  including  the  internet  protocol  address  if  applicable,  the  outcome  of  the  wager,  and  records  of  abnormal, unusual, or suspicious wagering activity. (11 VAC5-70-230 (L & M))

Comments for the Lottery Board

The language here implies that the Director would want a live feed of each operator's bet ticker. Is this the intent of this clause? Is it only for the purpose of an investigation or is it at any time?  If so, there could be some significant development required by platform providers to satisfy all information the Director deems needed in real time.

 

Item 12

Regulatory Provision

If a sports governing body notifies the Director that real-time information sharing for wagers placed  on  its  sporting  events  is  necessary  and  desirable,  and  the  Director  determines  in  the  Director’s sole discretion that real-time information sharing is necessary, a regulated entity shall share the same information with the sports governing body or its designee with respect to wagers on its sporting events. Such information may be provided in anonymized form and may be used by a sports governing body solely for integrity purposes. (11 VAC5-70-230 (M))

Comments for the Lottery Board

We would recommend that if a sports governing body was to have access to such wagering activity, they would need to be licensed by the Board. 

 

Item 13

Regulatory Provision

A permit holder shall provide all advertising, marketing, and promotional materials developed by or on behalf of the permit holder by a supplier or vendor to the Director in advance of publication or dissemination for review and approval in accordance with guidelines issued by the Director. (11 VAC5-70-240 (A))

Comments for the Lottery Board

We would recommend a timeline for approval because in the sports world, promotions are very time sensitive and dependent on events and trending news. We propose that a catalog of all offers be submitted with our Terms and Conditions if approved, operators would be able to choose from the catalog without specific prior approval from the Director for each marketing plan or marketing materials.

 

Item 14

Regulatory Provision

Advertising, marketing, and promotional materials may not contain images, symbols, celebrity or entertainer endorsements, or language designed to appeal specifically to those under 21 years old. (11 VAC5-70-240 (G))

Comments for the Lottery Board

We believe this item to be too vague and request more clarification on how this would be defined. 

 

Item 15

Regulatory Provision

 

Unless approved in advance by the Director, a permit holder or a supplier providing a permit holder’s sports betting platform may not rescind a wager posted in the sports betting platform. (11 VAC5-70-270 (K))

Comments for the Lottery Board

This clause would indicate that any errors performed by the operator would have to be approved before cancelling. What if our house rules indicate that wagers that were past posted or had odds/lines that were obviously in error are deemed to be canceled?

 

Item 16

Regulatory Provision

Verification that the player is not prohibited by the sports betting law or this chapter from participating in sports betting; (11 VAC5-70-290 (B)(7))

Comments for the Lottery Board

Other than banned and self-excluded players provided via a list and minors via “Know Your Customer*” process, operators do not have any other tools available currently to block restricted players other than an acknowledgement in the Term's and Condition's prior to registering.

 

*Know Your Customer is an online process where operators utilize a 3rd party licensed vendor to validate information related to player registration to ensure that it all matches to a real person for which they have info for in their various databases.

CommentID: 84658