New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement director David Rebuck has advised B2B and B2C sports betting companies to apply for a New Jersey sports betting licence now.
The US Supreme Court still has to rule on New Jersey’s case to repeal the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) and after that the New Jersey legislature will need to pass a law to update its sports betting regulations, which were developed back in 2011. But the time for action is now.
“Don’t sit back and wait for the regulations,” Rebuck told a packed room at the ICE Totally Gaming conference in London. “If you sit and wait you will be left behind.”
While Pennsylvania director of licensing Susan Hensel, who was sitting alongside Rebuck, said that she was not ready to accept sports betting applications, Rebuck advised non-US operators and suppliers to approach states such as New Jersey that will accept applications under traditional licensing laws, which do not need to change.
“Even if you don’t have a partner, nothing stops you from submitting your application for a licence to do sports wagering,” continued Rebuck.
He told prospective B2B and B2C suppliers that local lawyers will be able to advise on what what category of licence to apply for depending on your product.
“Most of you, from an integrity standpoint, will be able to get in the door now,” said Rebuck. “And if you can’t, we will tell you you’re not going to make it.”
Rebuck warned potential applicants that any company or individual currently engaged in providing services to companies which take bets out of the US, will not get licensed.
Beyond that warning, Rebuck also had some advice for applicants. He noted that all US states that have indicated a desire to offer sports betting have said they will run it along the same lines as they do for other gambling in their states. For example, New Jersey will run its sports wagering through its casinos. Delaware wants to run its sports wagering through the state lottery.
“That is completely different to the UK,” said Rebuck. “So B2C operators and B2B suppliers will need to partner with casinos, racetracks or lotteries.”
Furthermore, he said the majority of events will be US-based (American football, baseball or basketball). The majority of people placing bets will be US citizens or residents or visitors to the US and the majority of money and transactions and payment processing will be driven through US financial institutions and its currency.
“You need to convince operators and regulators that you are willing to commit to the US. It is not just about flicking a switch and adding a new market to your existing market. That does not show commitment,” said Rebuck.
Hensel and Rebuck were in agreement that the most important aspect of rolling out sports betting in the US is preserving the integrity of the game.
“Nobody wants a scandal,” said Rebuck.
There was a lot of talk about betting monitoring systems with representatives of Sportradar and Genius Sports present. Rebuck agreed that such systems are necessary but that the systems need to work for regulators, sports leagues, operators and law enforcement. That raised the prospect of a centralised monitoring system.
But Hensel stated: “There will be a patchwork of regulations. We are not going to have a federal system. So where does the monitoring system sit? What standards will apply? And who is going to pay for it?”
The prospect of a federal system of regulation had been raised by NBA commissioner Adam Silver late last year but Rebuck thought it more likely that a regionalised approach could emerge.
He said that he could see states such as New Jersey, Pennsylvania, New York and Delaware, which are ready to regulate sports betting and neighbour each other, work together to build a regional system.