SBC Summit: Is more regulation the answer to keeping players happy?

May 14, 2024 11:12 AM
Photo: CDC Gaming Reports
  • Kelly Koffler, Special to CDC Gaming
May 14, 2024 11:12 AM
  • Kelly Koffler, Special to CDC Gaming

During last week’s SBC Summit North America at the Meadowlands Expo Center in Secaucus, New Jersey, a group of amateur gamblers were asked what they sought in the North American gaming market.

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“Regulators need to do their job – regulate,” said professional gambler Captain Jack Andrews during “Player’s Panel: What are Professional and Amateur Gamblers Looking for in the North American Market.”

That answer might seem surprising – ostensibly, less regulation would be preferred. But in answering questions posed by moderator and SBC Americas Editor Jessica Welman, there mostly was an expressed preference for stricter regulations and fairness from the operators with which they placed bets.

Sharps – those with long-term winning records as sports bettors – don’t get the preferential treatment they deserve, according to Andrews.

“This is an industry where it’s a game of skill, and so your VIPs are the ones with the least amount of skill, and your toxic assets are the ones with the most amount of skill,” Andrews said. “And at that point where’s the tipping point in terms of fairness, because the person with the least amount of skill doesn’t realize they have a lower amount of skill — that’s why their limits are higher. And the person with the most amount of skill, they know that they’re being limited just because of their skill, not because of KYC or AML, which is what some operators try to pin it on as a way of a plausible deniability.”

Prime Sports CEO Lee Terfloth agreed that fairness is absent. When he launched Prime Sports in 2021, that lack of fairness caused him to take a different approach.

“Our focus has been on opening doors for everybody,” Terfloth said. “The number of people that are actually sharp bettors – the people that are winning above 55% of their bets consistently over a long term – is a very small number. There’s a lot of people that think they’re very sharp … Those are the guys that we really, really want – the guys that think they’re very, very sharp, but they’re not as sharp as those other guys and girls.”

The lack of fairness to sharp bettors was defined as limiting bets without warning and not paying on certain bets, or leaning on terms and conditions, the fine print often attached to betting slips or listed at the bottom of screens, as a way out.

“I have a feeling like they’re building these terms and conditions to be these ironclad guards against themselves where if you have a dispute, you have already agreed to go to an arbitrator of their choosing to have this adjudicated,” Andrews said. “That’s not fundamentally fair. The regulators need to do their job – regulate.”

John Gordon, CEO of Incentive Games, stated that more regulation is unnecessary. He suggested that instead, consumers will “vote with their feet,” as they have done in mature markets such as UK, Africa, and Europe, when they like the betting options they are offered. The platforms will ultimately be forced to get their act together and provide a better experience, or the players will migrate to other platforms.

“In the end, is more regulation necessary to force companies to be `fair.’ or do we as consumers hold the power to direct change? I personally think it’s a bit of both,” Gordon said.