Betr co-founder Jake Paul’s recent trouble with the federal Securities and Exchange Commission won’t halt a Betr launch in Massachusetts.
The mobile microbetting app is still expected to launch under a temporary Massachusetts license in April, following a March 22 announcement that Paul had settled charges of violating federal securities rules. The SEC had charged the celebrity boxer and social media influencer for promoting Tronix (TRX) crypto securities in a Feb. 12, 2021 tweet in exchange for approximately $25,000 in crypto assets without disclosing the payment agreement.
Paul paid over $100,000 in fees, penalties, and interest to settle the matter with the SEC, Massachusetts Gaming Commission Investigations and Enforcement Director Loretta Lillios told the commission in a public meeting Thursday. Six other celebrities – including actress Lindsay Lohan and rap star Lil Yachty – also settled with the SEC on related charges.
But Betr might not be completely free of the incident. Lillios told the commission Thursday that the SEC issue will be considered as her office reviews Betr’s suitability for permanent licensure in the Commonwealth.
Betr had purposely delayed its launch in the Massachusetts sports betting market past the March 10 mobile start date in order to finalize its house rules. Those rules were approved Thursday by the MGC.
Paul’s Role as ‘Qualifier’ at Issue
At issue for the MGC is Paul’s role as a qualifier for Betr’s mobile sports betting license in the Bay State.
Individuals who are company directors or officers in a sportsbook company are typically considered “qualifiers” by the MGC. That will make Paul a factor in the MGC’s review of whether Betr meets suitability for a permanent license, although Lillios said Thursday that the sportsbook “was not a party to (the SEC) matter in any way.”
She also told the commission that Betr notified her office of the Paul issue within 24 hours after the matter was resolved by the SEC.
Commissioner Eileen O’Brien questioned the timing of Betr’s notification of the MGC. The company’s notification came after the resolution of the case, not earlier. MGC Chair Cathy Judd-Stein responded by asking Lillios if possibly the SEC prohibited an early public announcement. Lillios said she did not know, but that her office plans to clarify the “duties” of licensees in more detail.
“We usually send a letter to our licensees, really spelling out their duties in much more detail than in the regulations. We have not done that yet, so that’s a high-priority item for us right now,” she said Thursday.
Betr One of 10 Mobile Sportsbooks Approved for Licensure in Massachusetts
Betr is one of 10 mobile sportsbooks that have been approved for licensure by the MGC. Six of those sportsbooks (FanDuel, DraftKings, BetMGM, Caesars, Barstool, and WynnBET) launched on the commonwealth’s statewide start date of March 10. Betr, BallyBet, Betway, and Fanatics plan a later launch.
Betr is expected to launch in Massachusetts in April. BallyBet and Fanatics are not scheduled to launch in the state until sometime in May. Betway plans to launch in 2024.
Betr positions itself as the only sportsbook in the US designed for microbetting – a concept of wagering on moments within a game in real-time. This type of wagering will be limited to football, basketball, and baseball on Betr’s Massachusetts sports betting app.