The SCALER Weekly 2/21/24

FanDuel Acquires BeyondPlay

FanDuel Casino, a major player in the online sports betting and igaming industry, has recently announced its acquisition of BeyondPlay, a B2B technology venture founded in 2021. Under the deal, BeyondPlay will merge with FanDuel Casino, although financial details remain undisclosed. BeyondPlay specializes in igaming software designed to enhance player engagement and holds licenses in key jurisdictions such as the UK, Malta, and Sweden. BeyondPlay’s flagship products include a jackpot management system with customizable campaigns and multiplayer software allowing users to share casino game sessions and pool their stakes. CEO Karolina Pelc expressed excitement about the acquisition, citing it as validation of the team’s hard work and vision. Asaf Noifeld, FanDuel Casino’s managing director, emphasized the strategic importance of continuously improving their igaming offerings to enhance the customer experience.

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Balancing Compliance and Growth: Executives Advocate for Industry Harmony

In a recent discussion focusing on harmonizing gambling compliance with business expansion, senior executives underscored the necessity of aligning regulatory frameworks with industry objectives to cultivate a sustainable and ethical landscape. David Yatom Hay of Soft2Bet underscored the symbiotic relationship between compliance and commercial units in propelling business growth, cautioning against overly stringent regulations that could impede profitability and inadvertently steer players toward illicit operators. Monika Grue from LiveScore Group emphasized the pivotal role of C-level endorsement in integrating compliance objectives into corporate strategies for enduring success. Erin Copeland of the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians highlighted the transformative shift towards a more encompassing compliance perspective, resonating closely with tribal values to foster cultural integrity. Victoria Vilela Fernandes from Kambi drew attention to the recurring issue of regulatory oversights in advertising practices, urging operators to heed past missteps to ensure judicious marketing approaches. Ultimately, there was a shared optimism among participants regarding the potential for constructive dialogue between regulators, operators, and stakeholders to drive effective regulation and propel industry advancement.

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Alabama’s Gambling Proposal: Lottery, Casinos, and Sports Betting on the Ballot

Alabama’s proposed gambling legislation, backed by a legislative committee, includes plans for a state lottery, sports betting, and multiple casinos. If passed by the state Legislature, it will proceed to a vote by Alabama voters in November, marking the first public vote on gambling since 1999. The bill’s sponsor, Rep. Chris Blackshear, hails it as an opportunity for residents to decide on gambling in Alabama. The comprehensive proposal allows for up to 10 casinos, including tribal sites, alongside sports betting and lottery options. However, concerns linger regarding enforcement and licensing fairness, with some legislators advocating for an open bidding process. The bill proposes the creation of a new Alabama Gaming Commission to oversee licensing, with a particular focus on counties where electronic gambling operations have faced scrutiny. Despite expectations of significant revenue generation, dissenters like former governor Don Siegelman criticize the bill’s allocation of funds, arguing it lacks guarantees for key initiatives like education and scholarships.

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North Carolina Sports Betting: Progress Update and License Status

The North Carolina Sports Betting Committee provided an update on the progress toward the planned launch of sports betting on March 11, despite not yet awarding any licenses. Of the nine operators that have applied for licenses, eight are smoothly advancing through the evaluation process. While licenses have not been granted, it’s expected that the eight applicants will receive certificates of compliance by the March 1 deadline for customer registration and funding, aligning with the official launch. However, there are concerns that the Catawba Two Kings Casino may not be prepared by then. Additionally, the committee approved a voluntary exclusion program for residents, and the state has issued its first sports betting supplier licenses, indicating further progress toward implementation.

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Wyoming House Defers Online Casino Legislation Amidst Regulatory Concerns

During the current legislative session in Wyoming, online casino legislation won’t be considered after the House voted 25-36-1 against taking up the proposed iGaming legislation, HB 120. Rep. Robert Davis had hoped his bill would be introduced, but with the session’s time constraints, it required two-thirds of House members’ approval for official consideration, falling short of the necessary support. Davis argued for the bill’s importance in regulating the illegal iGaming market and ensuring protections for players. However, Rep. John Winter cited the Wyoming Gaming Commission’s reluctance to proceed with online casinos, expressing concerns about youth access to gambling. Despite Davis’s reassurance of safeguards and parallels drawn to the state’s sports betting law, opposition, including from Rep. Allen Slagle, highlighted fears of increased addiction and the lack of protections against offshore gambling. While the timing may not be right for online casinos in this session, parallels are drawn to the state’s path to legalizing sports betting, suggesting potential future consideration with more time for discussion and refinement.

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DraftKings Under Investigation: Massachusetts Regulators Probe Credit Card Deposit Breaches

Massachusetts regulators are grappling with DraftKings’ handling of numerous improper credit card deposits, prompting the Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC) to extend its deliberation on the matter. During an adjudicatory hearing, DraftKings admitted to allowing funds deposited via credit card in other jurisdictions to be used for sports betting in Massachusetts, contravening state sports betting statutes prohibiting such transactions. Furthermore, DraftKings disclosed two additional instances of non-compliance during the hearing. Commissioner Jordan Maynard advocated for a thorough investigation by the Investigations Enforcement Bureau (IEB) before reaching a decision, a sentiment supported by Commissioner Nakisha Skinner, who expressed concerns over ongoing developments in the case. Skinner emphasized the need for assurances from DraftKings regarding the extent of the issue and expressed dismay over continued infractions nearly a year after the initial report. MGC Chair Cathy Judd-Stein stressed the urgency of resolving the matter promptly to fully comprehend the situation and DraftKings’ efforts to rectify the issue moving forward. This development comes against the backdrop of DraftKings’ earlier report of 218 users placing 242 wagers totaling $83,663.92 using out-of-state credit card funding, despite assurances from the company of implementing measures to prevent such occurrences. With the MGC known for its stringent regulatory approach, actions against DraftKings are anticipated given the recurrence of infractions despite previous assurances.

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DraftKings CEO Clarifies Hiring of Marie Donoghue Amid Live Sports Rights Speculation

DraftKings’ recent hiring of sports media veteran Marie Donoghue as its chief business and growth operator doesn’t necessarily indicate a move toward acquiring live sports rights, according to CEO Jason Robins. While Donoghue’s expertise could provide insights into various aspects of the sports ecosystem, Robins clarified that live sports rights acquisition isn’t a current priority for the company. However, given the evolving landscape where the lines between sports betting and media blur, with streaming platforms increasingly venturing into live sports, DraftKings’ strategic expansion may involve exploring comprehensive live rights deals in the future. Donoghue, who played a significant role in Amazon’s foray into live sports, notably securing exclusive NFL rights for Thursday night games, brings valuable experience to DraftKings. With its recent acquisition of digital lottery app Jackpocket and previous moves into areas like NFTs and e-commerce, DraftKings aims to diversify its platform for sports fans, potentially including broader live rights deals down the line. Despite flat stock trading following its earnings report, DraftKings remains positioned for strategic growth and expansion in the sports betting and gaming sector.

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States crack down on DFS Operators for Unlicensed Sports Betting

In recent developments within the realm of daily fantasy sports, several companies such as PrizePicks, Betr, and Underdog have faced scrutiny for their offerings of daily fantasy picks versus the house, prompting their withdrawal from certain states. In Florida, these operators are planning to exit by March 1 following cease-and-desist letters from the Florida Gaming Control Commission, raising questions of selective enforcement compared to larger players like DraftKings and FanDuel. State Senator Joe Gruters has expressed concerns about the targeted approach, urging fairness across the industry. Similarly, in Arkansas, the Department of Finance and Administration issued cease-and-desist letters to Underdog and PrizePicks, alleging unlicensed sports betting and violating state laws. These actions reflect a broader trend of regulatory challenges facing DFS operators, with cease-and-desist notices also issued in Kansas and New York. PrizePicks, for instance, has paused operations in New York due to licensing rule changes but aims to resume with proper authorization, emphasizing compliance with state regulations. Such developments underscore the complex legal landscape and growing regulatory scrutiny surrounding daily fantasy sports operators across various states.

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The Look Ahead…

Fintech & Sports Wagering Innovation Center: Webinar Series, Innovation in Integrity

When:Thursday February 22nd, 12-1pm

What: Join us for our next webinar in our Gamble4Good series. We invite innovators from across the industry to share with us their work and to talk about what’s ahead for integrity in gaming. We’ll talk about how technology is changing how companies and leagues tackle integrity issues, what more is needed, and where the industry is headed.

Who: David Rebuck (NJ Division of Gaming Enforcement), Leo Villalobos (MLB), Chris Adams (SharpRank), Matt Heap (Prohibet)


Cost: FREE

Towson University: Sports Betting Done Right

When: Thursday February 22nd, 5:30 pm

What: Learn how two CBE alum have transformed their business & economics education into a career in sports betting regulations, protecting investments, and maintaining the integrity of America’s financial system.

Who: Russel Kemp (FINRA), Brendan Logan (Sharprank), Chris Adams (SharpRank)

How/Where: email for registration, Towson Center 3rd floor lobby

Cost: FREE