Massachusetts Gaming Commission Discusses Integrity Amidst Sports Betting Limitations

At an open Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC) meeting held May 21, commissioners grappled with the complexities of maintaining transparency and integrity within the sports betting industry. However, the lack of participation on the part of sports betting operators seems to indicate their view on the subject.

The Massachusetts Gaming Commission seal in its offices. (Source: Massachusetts Gaming Commission)

Listen to this news articleLISTEN TO THIS ARTICLE:

MGC Chair Jordan Maynard opened the meeting by addressing the commission's commitment to transparency. "My fellow commissioners and I are faced with this situation at almost every meeting. Without the benefit of being able to collaborate before we join a meeting, it's tough. But that said, transparency is key to the integrity of the industry in Massachusetts. This commission will never compromise transparency or integrity," he asserted.

Related: Massachusetts Gaming Regulator Commissions Research into iGaming and AI

The discussion highlighted ongoing challenges faced by regulators and operators, emphasizing the importance of open communication and public engagement.

The chair acknowledged the recent influx of communications from operators, which were received over the last 72 hours and will be added to the public packet on the MGC website. He expressed appreciation for the outreach and comments from operators, indicating a desire to continue this engagement.

Expert Perspectives and Core Questions

The meeting featured contributions from industry experts to address five core questions developed by the MGC team. These questions were designed as conversation starters but were not intended to limit the discussion. Commissioners retained the right to ask any question of any participant at any time, fostering an open and comprehensive dialogue.

Participants included Justin Black, a representative from Bally's – the only sports betting operator to participate, despite not yet being live in the state. Also involved were various gaming industry consultants, professional bettor and Unabated co-founder Jack Andrews, and gaming industry consultants who provided insights into the limitations imposed on sports bettors.

The discussion turned to the practices of sports betting operators, particularly the limitations imposed on players. Bruce Band, Director of the MGC's sports wagering division, and Andrew Steffen, Operations Manager, provided a comprehensive overview of the division's recent activities. They detailed the process of reviewing public comments, conducting research, and meeting with operators to understand their practices regarding player limitations.

More Business News

Steffen highlighted the initial public comment made in July 2023, which raised concerns about sports betting operators limiting wagers. This comment led to an in-depth review and discussions, despite the absence of industry representatives.

Perspectives from Industry Experts

Black emphasized that Bally's does not limit players based solely on winnings. He noted that Bally's uses Kambi for risk management, which may impose limitations based on various factors.

Andrews, representing the perspective of a professional bettor, highlighted the lack of transparency in how and why players are limited. He pointed out that many players receive no notification when they are limited, creating a sense of unfairness and frustration.

Gouker and Brianne Doura-Schawohl, a responsible gaming consultant, stressed the need for more data on player limitations. They advocated for a better understanding of how many players are limited for problem gambling concerns versus other reasons. Doura-Schawohl warned against using responsible gambling as a pretext for limiting successful bettors, urging clear distinctions between genuine concerns and other motivations.

The Need for Data and Legislative Solutions

Commissioners and experts agreed on the importance of gathering data to understand the extent and reasons for player limitations. They suggested that operators could provide anonymized data on the percentage of players limited for different reasons, offering a clearer picture of the practice.

The discussion also touched on potential legislative solutions. Andrews and Gouker noted that regulatory frameworks could be adjusted to ensure fairness and transparency while balancing the needs of operators to manage risk.

All of the state's sports betting operators were invited to participate in the roundtable. However, they collectively asked for a closed session, not an open forum. Because they refused to participate, any changes to regulations could come without their input.


Leave a Comment

user avatar
My Name United States of America
Your Comment

User Comments

Comments for Massachusetts Gaming Commission Discusses Integrity Amidst Sports Betting Limitations