North Carolina’s online sports betting bill puts the state lottery in charge of regulating online sportsbooks.
The lottery will write regulations, analyze license applications and monitor the state’s new online sports betting industry. The lottery will also be in charge of overseeing the live horse racing and parimutuel wagering included in the online sports betting bill.
Even after hiring regulatory experts, the lottery is at risk of over-reliance on the industries it should regulate for crucial information about customer and industry safety, NC responsible gambling metrics and match-fixing and fraud attempts.
The lottery can solve this problem by hiring experts in both sports betting and horse racing regulation. As North Carolina works to meet that challenge, NCSharp will examine three concrete issues it can use as litmus tests for regulatory competency.
- Betting-related harassment of college athletes
- Adequate criminal and financial investigations
- Proactive and common-sense regulation
This article will introduce the third issue.
Outdated sports betting regulations hold the industry back
Regulators often overlook the task of eliminating outdated sports betting regulations.
Many state regulators copy large portions if not all of preceding states’ regulations and application materials to launch sports betting more quickly.
The Colorado Division of Gaming launched sports betting in six months under fraught conditions. Colorado voted to legalize sports betting in the 2019 election and launched sports betting in May 2020, two months after the national COVID-19 shutdowns. So, it may be unsurprising that its multi-jurisdictional personal history disclosure form is identical to New Jersey’s, which launched sports betting in the summer of 2018.
On page four of this document is an open-ended question that has been outdated for decades:
“DO YOU HAVE ANY SCARS, TATOOS, OR OTHER DISTINGUISHING MARKS AND/OR CHARACTERISTICS? IF SO, PLEASE DESCRIBE.”
This may have helped identify bookmakers when they were caught in person, but in a digital era, this is more likely to reveal old tattoos than identify criminals. There’s no physical mark more revealing than a background check or a person’s financial records, which the exact form asks for anyway.
Pioneering new enforcement mechanisms in North Carolina
Only a few regulatory innovations have emerged from the online sports betting wave.
Ohio pioneered the banning of misleading uses of “risk-free bet” from sportsbook advertising copy. Ohio was also the first state to pass a law addressing sports bettors who harass college athletes.
North Carolina regulators could pioneer enforcement mechanisms for another emerging issue. They could add more protections to college athletes, address youth gambling in-state, or eliminate outdated regulations commonly included in new gambling enforcement schemes.
However the North Carolina Lottery Commission does it, it should advance the safety and security of its new gambling industries.