The Nevada Gaming Control Board isn’t onboard with a bill on the table that calls for the Silver State to impose unspecified regulations on sports betting tout services.
On Wednesday, the Nevada Senate Judiciary Committee met in Carson City to briefly go over three gaming-related bills on the table. The most noteworthy of the measures is Senate Bill 46, which would require that tout services register with the state through the Nevada Gaming Commission.
A tout service provides sports betting picks or other information to sports bettors for the purpose of increasing one’s chances of making a winning wager. Tout services are currently unregulated.
The legislation was filed in November, just six months after the U.S. Supreme Court lifted the federal prohibition on single-game sports betting outside of Nevada. It also came around the same time as the news that the federal government was looking at a new plan to regulate sports betting.
The Nevada tout services bill was eyed as a plan to bolster Nevada’s rules covering its decades-old sports betting industry in the face of potential federal overreach.
NGCB opposes bill
Sandra Douglass Morgan, the Chairwoman of Nevada Gaming Control Board, testified in front of the committee, telling policymakers that existing law and regulations adequately cover any problems associated with tout services. New legislation is not needed, according to Morgan.
Morgan said the Board and/or the state currently has ways to enforce the law against a tout service if it either directs a bettor to an offshore, unregulated sports betting platform or attempts to swindle a customer with false or misleading information.
According to Morgan, existing consumer protections can cover the latter.
Per Morgan, the NGCB is concerned with people touting picks “that have no basis in reality,” but a new law isn’t necessary. Morgan told the committee that there’s currently “pending enforcement action” against some tout services, further explaining that SB 46 isn’t necessary at this point in time.
SB 46 doesn’t say what the regulations would be for the tout services, but rather outlines some regulations that state gaming regulators “may include.” The bill would give regulators a lot of discretion.
No vote was taken on the measure during Wednesday’s hearing.
Problem with the idea
Nevada is the gold standard of gaming regulation, but regulating businesses that merely provide information on the sports betting space might be too radical of an idea.
The prominent Las Vegas law firm Lewis Roca Rothgerber Christie wrote about the measure in a November blog post, calling the legislation a potential “slippery slope.”
“The notions of oversight and consumer protection are commendable,” wrote the gaming attorneys. “For instance, some touts have manipulated data to create the perception of high success rates. Also, there is no current recourse for touts who provide bad picks to bettors. That said, it presents a slippery slope. Are the Board and the Commission exceeding their authority by regulating persons who are tenuously linked to the industry? Would the Better Business Bureau be more suitable to monitor such businesses? Is the next step to begin regulating individuals who write books providing advice on blackjack and poker? This bill will be intriguing as it goes through the legislative process.”
With the NGCB opposed to the main provision of SB 46, it has long odds at this juncture unless amended.