In West Virginia, Del. Clay Riley introduced HB 3232 at the beginning of the month. The bill’s goal — like one introduced in the Senate as SB 571 — is to audit sports betting content creators directly and indirectly involved with sports wagering licensees in the state.
“The idea behind it was, we’ll probably need to have some sort of consumer protection in here,” Riley told Sports Handle.
Essentially, Riley believes sports betting touts with shady practices shouldn’t be allowed to operate in West Virginia. At the very least, Riley feels there should be more transparency regarding a handicapper’s record.
Some handicappers, for example, use bet tracking apps to share their plays. Several prominent staff members at The Action Network, such as Collin Wilson, use the site’s app to track and explain picks. The tracking service shows their record, as well as how many units they’re up or down.
The transparency gives bettors an increased understanding of those whose suggestions they might want to follow and trust when making picks of their own.
Despite my many successes betting sports, I still can and will lose.
I don’t run a money printing press.
Most amateurs looking for answers or touts, mistakingly think that pros always win.
We lose just like you guys.
We just eventually win more than we lose.
— spanky (@spanky) January 15, 2020
Others across the industry may ask users to pay for their picks despite having a subpar record or a record they alter to trick customers into paying. That’s what Riley wants to weed out, in turn steering casual bettors to more trusted information.
“The people who are really good actors and doing good things and handicapping really well, they should be rewarded,” Riley said. “The people who are skewing results and not being completely honest, that’s not good for the industry.”
Riley’s bill is a bit vague, however, and it remains to be seen exactly what an audit of sports betting content creators might look like. How would the independent evaluators determine who is considered a bad actor? What might a punishment be for a bad actor?
Similar effort in Maryland
The Maryland bill, SB 621, was introduced by Sen. Craig Zucker and includes similar language. The bill also lacks clarity about what exactly an audit would look like and how actionable steps might be taken to improve the type of sports betting content being shared throughout Maryland.
SB 621 is scheduled for a hearing with Maryland’s Senate Budget and Taxation Committee on March 8. The state’s legislative session lasts through April 10.
Riley’s West Virginia bill has been sent to the House Judiciary Committee. Riley is hopeful the bill will have a hearing in the coming weeks, although nothing is currently on the schedule. West Virginia’s legislative session ends on March 11.
“Hopefully we can get it across the goal line,” Riley said.