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Massachusetts regulators are reviewing restrictions on winning sports bettors

Sometimes winning can be the worst thing that can happen to a regular sports bettor.

A customer in Massachusetts pocketed $13,500 on a $375 bet on a non-QB throwing a touchdown pass in Super Bowl 58.

The +3500 ticket was cashed when San Francisco WR Jauan Jennings hit Christian McCaffrey with a 21-yard TD pass in the second quarter.

This bettor, who wished to remain anonymous, had no restrictions on his FanDuel account before the Super Bowl. Since that hit, his bets have been capped at $50.

The same customer was restricted on ESPN BET and DraftKings. Bookies.com has seen several betting slips confirming these betting limits.

“At DK, I set a college basketball total overnight, went over the limit, and they decided to limit me, and it just kept getting worse,” he said.

Experiences of being restricted from legitimate online books after consistently winning are often shared on social media.

This issue has created enough smoke in the commonwealth to attract the attention of the Massachusetts Gaming Commission. On Tuesday, the MGC will hold the first public hearing in the post-PASPA era in any jurisdiction on customer betting limits.

“We're engaged. Our teams here are meeting about what it's going to look like. As you know, as far as I know, we're the first jurisdiction to address this type of issue head-on, and so we want to make sure we do it right. We “We don’t want to rush this conversation. We want to make sure all appropriate voices are at the table,” interim MGC chairman Jordan Maynard told bookies.com last month when asked about customer limits.

This conversation begins on Tuesday at 11 a.m. The agenda for the “Round Table on Betting Restrictions by Sports Betting Providers” was published on Friday. The meeting was scheduled earlier this week.

The public roundtable will include representatives from legal retail and online operators in Massachusetts. The state currently has seven licensed online operators, six of which are active.

They are:

  • DraftKings
  • FanDuel
  • BetMGM
  • Caesars Sportsbook
  • fanatic
  • ESPN BET
  • Bally's (expected to launch in July)

BetMGM, ESPN Bet and WynnBET operate retail betting sites at their sister casinos.

Several books contacted for this story did not mention player limits in the filing. No licensed book in Massachusetts has yet publicly disclosed how many bettors were restricted based on their winnings and, more importantly, what criteria were used to make those decisions.

As a background, the operators say that stories like these are “sporadic” and are more of a creation of social media than broader trends. They argue at the same time that the impact of these players on the balance sheet is strong enough to negatively impact revenues, but there is not enough of it to be a concern for the public or regulators.

They argue that limits are necessary to maintain profitability. And they rely on their user agreements, which give them wide latitude when it comes to declining bets or limiting the dollar amount of bets.

But the question: “Why do you limit the players who win but not those who lose?” will be a difficult task for sportsbooks.

Player limits, long common among popular Las Vegas bookies, were not on the radar of any lawmaker or regulator since the Supreme Court's decision in the PASPA case in 2018 allowed sports betting nationwide outside of Nevada.

Tuesday’s public roundtable will be just that – a discussion. A reconnaissance mission, if you will.

After reviewing the public comments received on this issue, the operators present are asked to discuss the following:

1. Please explain how and why a patron can be restricted on your platform, including how you can restrict patrons on an individual basis.

2. Please explain a patron's experience once restricted.
What are the effects if customer limits are regulated more strictly?

3. What impact would it have on the industry if the granting of restrictions to individual customers were prohibited or restricted by law or regulation?

4. What are other jurisdictions and/or other sportsbooks doing?

The Commission will not take any action on Tuesday. If the MGC determines that rule changes are necessary, it will propose a regulation to affect those changes.

Once this wording is finalized, a public hearing will be held on the specific ordinance.

A final vote would then take place.

Anna Harden

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