It's Time to Acknowledge 'Dark Days Ahead' for Legalized Sports Betting in US

Written by:
Nagesh Rath
Published on:

Sports betting industry experts are beginning to sound the alarms....and with good reason.  It seems a week does not go by now without a controversy in the sector. 

Last month, DraftKings reported thousands of customer betting accounts had been compromised.  To make matters worse, many of the impacted customers complained of an inability to get through to support

This week, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine warned of severe consequences should these antics continue in his state.  Well, it only took less than 24 hours since the first bet was placed January 1 for the flood of commercials to raise DeWine's eyebrows.

“The companies that are doing the massive advertising need to be aware that they’re being looked at very closely by the governor and the Casino Control Commission in regard to statements that they are making,” DeWine said. “We believe that at least on several occasions they’ve already crossed the line. My message to them is that this will not be tolerated in the State of Ohio.”

But it quickly became apparent that DeWine wasn't just pissed off about all those commercials.

News also broke that Draftkings mailed out some 2,500 betting advertisements to people under the age of 21, a group that is not allowed to gamble legally in Ohio.

Regulators say that DraftKings is facing a potential $350,000 fine.  Three other books could be in the same boat we are hearing. They apparently include BetMGM, Caesars affiliate American Wagering Inc., and Crown OH Gaming, whoever that is

“The commission has been very clear about the rules and standards for sports gaming advertising with the industry, and are disappointed with the lack of compliance we have seen despite reminders,” Matt Schuler, the executive director of the Ohio Casino Control Commission, said in a prepared statement. “While we do not take administrative action lightly, DraftKings’ conduct in this case warrants the commission’s intervention to ensure the integrity of sports gaming.”

And just days prior, regulators in New Jersey forced bets on the Boilermakers-Tigers bowl game to be halted at PointsBet after their brand ambassador Drew Brees left for a coaching job at Purdue.  The former New Orleans Saints star quarterback owned an equity stake in PointsBet.

Christopher Adams, Founder & CEO at SharpRank suggests maybe we are being a bit conservative in our assessment that these types of stories are surfacing every week.

"These stories are popping up every day," he pointed out via his LinkedIn Page.

SharpRank serves as sports betting's independent ratings agency; elevating the industry as a whole by standardizing validity, accreditation, accountability, and transparency. It claims to be the tip of the spear for consumer trust and integrity in the public influence sphere.

"To be clear, we are not demonizing anyone here," Adams said.  "It's time we all had a real conversation about every other environment where these problems are not solved."

He referred to the scandals in cryptocurrencies, the housing market, and more.  But we all know how many of those have turned out (i.e. FTX).

Adams was mostly referencing the New Jersey PointsBet story.

"No one will be more disappointed than us if we have to say, 'we told you so'."

Tone deaf to all of this is none other than the American Gaming Association (AGA).

Last month, they lambasted the New York Times for their indepth probe into the various missteps in the regulated U.S. sports wagering market.  And this was before a host of other infractions taking place.

"The industry’s commitment to responsible gaming is a core and clear differentiator for the U.S. gaming industry against our peers globally," The AGA response read.  "That commitment continues to permeate everything we do and evolve with new technology and our understanding of player behavior."

So far, crickets from the AGA in regard to the betting account breaches and New Jersey PointsBet Drew Brees fiasco.

- Nagesh Rath,

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