Proposed Regulations Target Iowa Sports Betting Account Sharing

Proposed Regulations Target Iowa Sports Betting Account Sharing
Fact Checked by Thomas Leary

Iowa gaming officials are considering new rules that would clamp on people sharing sports betting accounts. The proposed additions and amendments were included in the agenda for Thursday’s meeting of the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission at the Riverside Casino & Golf Resort. State regulators will accept public comments through Oct. 10, the same day it intends to hold a public hearing on them in Des Moines.

Student-athletes and others at the University of Iowa and Iowa State University have been under investigation for allegedly placing bets. In some case, wagers were placed by athletes in games in which they or their teams participated. Some of the cases have already led to charges, with authorities saying athletes were using accounts set up by other people, such as a family member.

Those cases have come to light amid concerns about the integrity of some collegiate sporting events being threatened. Earlier this year, the coach of Alabama’s baseball team was fired after an individual tried to place a six-figure wager on the Crimson Tide’s opponent after they received information from the coach about the starting pitcher being scratched. Regulators in several states suspended betting markets on Alabama baseball after that was discovered.

Proposed Regs Require More Details

Iowa sports betting rules were initially approved in 2019 as wagering began four years ago this month. Those rules call for all licensees, including online operators, to mandate account holders adhere to them. Online operators have been required to post them on their sites and apps. The IRGC now wants to add new language for online operators and require them to “prominently display” that account sharing is prohibited, only the registered account holder can place bets and that no one under 21 can bet.

Currently, Iowa requires operators, like BetMGM Iowa, to verify an account holder’s legal name, physical address and age. Regulators are seeking to make the verification process more specific and want operators to verify the account holder’s complete date of birth, Social Security number and last name. Authentication can come from account holders responding to “knowledge-based questions” about their personal information, verification that the device and phone  number match the applicant’s publicly known data or a comparison of a valid identification card to a picture taken when a person registers for an account.

In the geolocation section of the Iowa sports betting rules, the commission wants operators to use geolocation activity to monitor for potential fraudulent activity. In some of the cases against student-athletes, wagers have been detected to be made in areas of either campus that are off-limits  to most of the public. To further combat account sharing, the IRGC wants multi-factor authentications to be required at least every seven days for “each unique device” used by an account holder.

In addition, before a deposit or withdrawal can take place, operators will need to verify the account holder is an authorized user of the banking account, card or other funding source.

More People Would Be Banned From Betting

The proposal also would expand the list of individuals barred from wagering. Besides coaches, trainers, referees or umpires, players and other  participants, the IRGC wants to add people who are “employed in a position with direct involvement with coaches, athletic trainers, officials, players or other individuals who participate” in events eligible for betting.

Regulators also want licensees to show they can block any prohibited individual from wagering on Iowa sports betting apps. That could be by organizing a list of its own or using a third-party source that maintains that data.

Approval Could Take Six Months

IRGC Administrator Brian Ohorilko told IowaBets.com Friday that the rulemaking process requires a public comment period and meetings with the state legislature’s Administrative Rules Review Committee. From there, the proposed regulations would return to the commission before final adoption. The amendments and additions could also be revised further during the process.

“The actual timing depends on scheduling of various meetings with respect to the required wait periods in the rules, and I would guess (that) would take about 3-6 months,” he said.

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Author

Steve is an accomplished, award-winning reporter with more than 20 years of experience covering gaming, sports, politics and business. He has written for the Associated Press, Reuters, The Louisville Courier Journal, The Center Square and numerous other publications. Based in Louisville, Ky., Steve has covered the expansion of sports betting in the U.S. and other gaming matters.