By Amanda Cappelli
Boston University Statehouse Program
BOSTON — Mobile sports bettors could be faced with financial risks if they wager with temporarily licensed operators, a challenge those operators offered opinions and solutions for at the Massachusetts Gaming Commission roundtable last week.
Gov. Charlie Baker signed sports betting into law in August, and now the MGC is tasked with how to implement it. The law allows seven operators to have five-year licenses and an unlimited number of temporary licenses, which exist for up to a year. After that year, consumers might still have open bets, money in their accounts, and personal information saved with the operator.
One of the primary risks consumers in Massachusetts could face is outstanding player balances when an unlimited number of operators have to shut down after a year or less. Another risk is personally identifiable information existing in the revoked operator’s systems. Some companies shared their solutions for these consumer concerns.
Operators like Betr outlined some consumer protection strategies if several temporary operators shut down at once, like limiting credit card usage.
Ashwin Krishnan, head of legal, said that Betr will employ deposit limits for under 25-year-olds and impose affordability checks, which “allow for wager limits and, or, deposit limits based on the consumer.”
Luis Anthony Gaud, CEO of G3 Esports, said in a statement that there would likely be consumer confusion and other issues if the temporary licenses simultaneously end.
“The process of what to do with PII data in the event of business closure needs to be clearly defined by regulators,” he said.
Four-stage plan to protect consumers
Victory Game Challenge Inc. suggested a four-stage plan to ensure consumer protection where consumers can transfer their wagers to the Category 3 operators from the temporary ones, highlighting California’s approach. The seven operators with long-term licensing are in Category 3. Which operators will be Category 3 versus temporary licensees has not been determined yet.
“Temporary licensees will stop their sportsbooks but will continue running by simply forwarding wagers to regular licenses if consumers still want to use their platform,” they said in a statement.
Several operators also offered their support for a staggered mobile gaming launch which means businesses could start mobile operations at different times from each other and from retail locations like a casino. However, DraftKings supports a simultaneous launch where all sports betting companies begin operation at the same time.
The next meeting will hear from the public on regulatory amendments Thursday, Sept. 29.
This article originally appeared in SouthCoast Today.
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