West Virginia sports betting operators could soon be required to audit their content creators if a new law passes.
HB 3232, filed by delegate Clay Riley, wants to require operators to audit content creators who work with their respective brands. This audit would come from a third party.
Maryland filed a similar bill as well.
What the bill looks like
Here’s a look at text from the bill:
“A bill to amend the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, by adding thereto a new section, designated §29-22D-25, relating to amend the regulation of fantasy gaming competitions and implementation of sports wagering by allowing the West Virginia State Gaming Control Board to accredit independent evaluators to audit and opine on the sports betting content directly or indirectly affiliated with mobile sports wagering licensees.”
The bill says “mobile wagering licensees, experts or influencers, and content partners” would have a three-month time frame to select an independent evaluator. The evaluator would report to the West Virginia State Lottery Commission every quarter.
The commission would then decide if any misrepresentations from the evaluators’ reports warrant any further action.
Audits on West Virginia sports betting content creators for public protection
According to the bill, these audits aren’t intended to restrict the West Virginia sports betting industry in a negative way.
“The purpose is consumer protection through setting standards and guidelines to combat predatory promotions/advertisement, remove industry bad actors, and create generally accepted evaluation practices,” the bill reads.
HB 3232 explains that creating these guardrails now will help stabilize the sports gambling industry’s growth. “(Auditing) prevents collapses seen in other more mature markets and other industries (i.e., cryptocurrency),” the bill says.
Who would perform these audits?
West Virginia’s bill doesn’t specify which third party would audit the content creators. Neither does the Maryland bill. But they have options.
SharpRank is one auditor that could help in this situation. Founder and CEO Chris Adams spoke with SBC Americas, explaining his familiarity with content creator concerns. Adams talked with lawmakers and various conferences to get a better feel for those concerns.
According to Adams, he thinks the goal in this situation is to “sustain growth.” “It’s not to curb enterprise at all,” he told SBC Americas.
“I think that’s a big one just because, at the onset, it looks like this is some way to prevent or discourage growth by these sportsbooks and media properties. From what I can gather, I don’t believe that to be true at all. I think this is way more focused on trying to not repeat the mistakes that we’ve seen in more mature markets and create an actually more innovative US market, because it’s fully secured with consumer protection.”
Adams explained that he believes the audit side should look “no different than a financial statement and audit.”
Which content creators would audits target under this new bill?
This bill affects content creators who either work directly with the sportsbook operators or with an associated affiliate. The proposal would not audit independent content creators, and that might not be a bad thing, according to Adams.
He believes influencers backed by third-party audits would be more trustworthy to the public. In other words, you’re more inclined to believe a content creator who’s subject to checks.
“The main thing that they’re trying to do is institute some sort of auditing standards, disclosure requirements,” he told SBC Americas. “I always think of it as if I’m a stock analyst, I have to disclose my position in my equity report. I can’t just like say whatever I want, and then not tell the public ‘Oh, by the way, I’m long on whatever.’”