While the US sports betting market is truly beginning to take shape, much has been said about how the various states are adopting their regulatory frameworks and the need for a ‘state-by-state’ approach from operators to each individual market.
Reflecting that view was SBC’s Sue Schneider, speaking to Bob Wallace, Partner and Chair of sports law group Thompson Coburn, during the recent Sports Betting Innovation Summit. She noted that while there is some consistency in each jurisdiction’s regulations, a non-federal approach has proved challenging for potential entrants.
She stated: “For those that are trying to get into the industry, what’s probably the toughest part is that it isn’t federally done, it’s done state-by-state, which all gaming has been.”
Mobile betting and college sports are two elements of legislation that she pinpointed as lacking in consistency, adding: “If the state allows it you can do it on your mobile. However, there are some states that have legalised sports betting without allowing for mobile betting or were requiring in-person registration for sign-ups.”
Against a backdrop of shifting moods and the fast-changing US sports betting landscape, Schneider was keen to emphasise how the relationship between leagues and gambling has evolved. She explained: “They have fought it for years, particularly the NFL – they were one of the leaders in the lobbying efforts to keep it from moving forward.
“I think the dividing line came a few years back when the NBA’s Adam Silver did an editorial piece stating that ‘we should all be looking at this’, and that really shifted the landscape.
“One of the controversies, and it hasn’t had a lot of takeup in the states, is the leagues have been really trying to figure out how to get a cut. At first it was an integrity fee, a royalty or a data fee – it is something that has been debated at most of the State Houses because the leagues are coming in and saying ‘you’re using our product’, so there is some validity to what they are saying.”
Providing an update on the current state of play between leagues and the betting sector, she revealed: “Most of them are currently getting fees for their data, but again, that is going to vary state by state.
“I know there have been many times when they have put in the amount for the leagues and that has dwindled down in more iterations of the proposed law, but there are only one or two that really mandated any integrity fee. But they do seem to be more open to allowing the leagues to get fees for their data.”