Massachusetts Gaming Commission, Sportsbooks Discuss Combatting Underage Sports Betting

As online sportsbook operators and mobile gambling become more popular, a looming issue has finally come to the forefront. 

Who’s actually behind the screen doing the betting? And how can operators assure government leaders that underagers aren’t getting in on the action illegally?

At the Nov. 27 Massachusetts Gaming Commision‘s open meeting, representatives from Caesars Sportsbook, DraftKings, Penn Entertainment, and WynnBet spoke about steps they could take to ensure user compliance.

Sportsbooks Monitoring Mobile Devices

Perhaps the element of online sports betting that’s most appealing is its accessibility. According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, in 2018, 95% of Americans had some kind of mobile device.

Keeping track of users across millions of devices is a tall task.

“We didn’t have any proof of it but just that it was happening,” Commissioner Hill said on Tuesday’s call regarding underagers accessing Caesars online. But according to Caesars’ reporting for July, August, and September, the sportsbook had zero incidents of underagers using their mobile gambling site to place bets.

However, what if suspicious activity did occur? In that case, representatives for Caesars explained that “geo comply” would alert.

“If there are different IP addresses coming from a specific account,” Caesar’s Digital Compliance Manager Curtis Lane Jr. explained, “we would get that alert, and we would do further research.”

Lane continued by explaining that if Caesars noticed the same account being accessed from different geographic locations, that account would be flagged. 

Caesars’ Next Steps

The sportsbook’s spokespersons said that they’re committed to temporarily disabling accounts while they’re under review for possible underage gambling and that they will go as far as permanently suspending accounts that are proven to be non-compliant.

They also noted that multifactor authentication could be a good next step to prohibiting underage gamblers who are attempting to gain access to Caesars Sportsbook.

DraftKings Detects Underage Use of Sportsbook

While Caesars reported no underagers unlawfully accessing its sportsbook in the third quarter, DraftKings had less favorable findings.

According to DK, there was one recorded incident in July, four in August, and none in September. As a result, those accounts were suspended.

As a part of their commitment to combating minors using DraftKings, representatives said that their registration process includes a stringent KYC verification process, that includes uploading photo identification.

Penn Entertainment’s In-House Technology

Adam Kates from Penn Entertainment also lauded KYC and the company’s in-house technology for a downward trend in underage bettors trying to access its sportsbook.

“We do believe that our KYC program does help at least deter some of that activity as an initial deterrent.”

Like Caesars and DraftKings, Penn said that the company does reserve the right to permanently suspend accounts whose activity reflects use by minors or underagers.

Responsible Operators

Overall, each sportsbook that was present on the Nov. 27 call spoke directly to the efforts their respective company was making to eliminate efforts by minors to access online gambling sites.

From KYC to geo comply, the responsibility to protect minors from mobile betting falls largely in the laps of every sportsbook operator.

About the Author
Erica Renee Davis

Erica Renee Davis

Erica Renee Davis is a sports betting writer with Gaming Today. She graduated from the University of Georgia with degrees in Journalism and Political Science. After cheering as an NFL cheerleader for the Atlanta Falcons, Erica moved to Los Angeles where she became the host of Kevin Pollak's This Week In Football digital show. Since then, she has appeared as an on-air host and sports commentator for NASCAR Digital Media, FOX Bet, Spectrum News 1 SoCal, CNN, HLN, and TEGNA's Daily Blast Live.

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