Massachusetts sports betting study calls for ban on in-game betting

Published on: September 10, 2022, 01:53 am.

Last update: September 10, 2022, 01:53.

A “snapshot” report released Thursday by the Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC) included a recommendation to ban in-game betting when sports betting is available in the Commonwealth.

An aerial view of Fenway Park and Kenmore Square in Boston at sunset. A report released Thursday recommended that the Massachusetts Gaming Commission ban in-game betting as part of its sports betting regulations. (Image: rabbit75_fot/Adobe Stock Images)

In-play betting, also known as micro-betting, is the opportunity to bet on a future outcome within the event. Examples include betting on whether a baseball team scores a run in an inning or a batter gets a hit in his at bat. It’s a growing segment of the US sports betting industry, with startups like Betr and nVenue receiving millions of dollars from investors to help launch their products.

However, the researchers who conducted report for MGC said they found “in-game sports betting… is disproportionately used by problem gamblers”.

The researchers also recommended that any licensed operator in the state be required to provide player data to the commission and “cooperate with investigators.” They also called for responsible gambling features to be stipulated on all web and mobile sites and for controls on marketing, including celebrity endorsements.

“The authors provided policy recommendations aimed at optimizing the economic and social benefits of sports betting in (Massachusetts) while minimizing the economic and social harms.” the report was specified.

The study was conducted by Rachel A. Volberg, Martha Zorn and Valerie Evans of the University of Massachusetts Amherst’s School of Public Health & Health Sciences and Robert J. Williams, a member of the health sciences faculty at the University of Lethbridge in Canada. All are members of the Social and Economic Impact of Gambling in Massachusetts (SEIGMA) team, which receives funding from MGC.

RG Round Table Set for Tuesday

On Friday, the MGC announced it would hold a public meeting to discuss responsible gaming practices related to sports betting. The public meeting will include a panel discussion on topics such as voluntary self-exclusion, steps to prevent underage gambling, employee training and other considerations.

The SEIGMA report and its recommendations are likely to be discussed during the session.

Scheduled to participate in the discussion are Alan Feldman, UNLV Distinguished Responsible Gaming Fellow; Brianne Doura-Schawohl, founder and CEO of Doura-Schawohl Consulting; Keith Whyte, Executive Director of the National Council on Problem Gambling; Marlene Warner, executive director of the Massachusetts Council on Gaming and Health; Michael Wohl, professor of psychology at Carleton University; Cait DeBaun, vice president of strategic communications and accountability at the American Gaming Association; and Elizabeth Lanza, with the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board’s Office of Compulsive and Problem Gambling.

About sports betting in Massachusetts

Massachusetts formally passed its sports betting law last month after legislative leaders finally reached an agreement in the final hours of the session. The compromise bill between members of the House and Senate included a partial ban on betting on college sports teams in the state. While bets on teams like Boston College and UMass will not be allowed in regular season games, sportsbooks will be allowed to offer markets on in-state teams for postseason play.

The law allows casinos in the state to offer in-person sports betting and for each to partner with up to two online sports betting applications. Gives racetracks and simulcast facilities the ability to partner with an app. In addition, it also allows seven online operators that are not tied to either a casino, racetrack or simulcast facility.

Earlier this month, the MGC announced that 42 companies had submitted a notice of intent to apply for a sports betting licence. The full list can be found here Herebut one of the companies that submitted was Betr.

It is uncertain when sports betting will begin in Massachusetts. Commissioner Bradford Hill, at an MGC meeting Thursday, dismissed rumors of a retail launch within three weeks that were aired recently on Toucher and Rich, a popular Boston sports radio show.

Obviously, that’s not going to happen,” Hill said. “It’s been frustrating because of the hundreds of thousands of people who listen to that show and I think they might be able to bet here in Massachusetts (soon) … Other states that have done it, it took them a while to be able to put together regulations.”

Hill pointed out that some states need several years to put these regulations in place, but he doesn’t expect it to take that long in the Bay State.

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