A Conference that Regulators Should Attend

The sports betting ecosystem in the U.S. works best when all of its parts are working together in a collaborative fashion. Unfortunately, that doesn’t always happen, and relationships are often strained as a result. Bet Bash, says Richard Schuetz (l.), is a conference that can help mend some of those sore spots for both players and regulators.

A Conference that Regulators Should Attend

I was gratified to be able to answer promptly, and I did. I said I didn’t know.

Mark Twain

One of the fascinating things about the expansion of sports betting in the United States is that regulators know very little about sports betting in the United States. At best, even those who have been around for a while are semi-literate. Sports betting is a complex subject, and it takes years to develop fluency in it, even when a person is involved with it on a daily basis.

It is typical for regulators who are new to betting to become dependent upon borrowing regulations and standards from other jurisdictions, who probably borrowed them from someone else. And so, it goes.

The result is that people start regulating betting with little knowledge or insight about betting. Then, they learn and enforce the regulations they borrowed from someone else, never being completely comfortable with the “what” and the “why” of what they are doing.

One would hope that if a regulator lacked an understanding of sports betting, an effort would be made to rectify this shortcoming. It seems the immediate response to such a situation would be to get with some folks who really understand betting and learn things. However, that is sometimes difficult for a regulator who may feel uncomfortable in such a situation. He or she may worry that it could indicate weakness, so they go without asking and without learning.

This is a terrible trap for regulators. They begin regulating the industry without much insight and then find it awkward or uncomfortable to gain it.

Regarding this feeling of weakness, or ego, or whatever it might be, the bettors in the world already have a pretty good idea of what you do not know, so don’t worry about that. Your secret has never been much of a secret. The bettors would appreciate it more if you admitted that you would like to “up your game,” and a great place to up your game is at Bet Bash. Check it out on the Google machine.

The most fascinating thing about Bet Bash is that everyone there is learning, and the smart ones know it. So, regulators would fit right in. Think of it as a medical situation you did not understand, and you sought out a group of experts to explain it. And who knows, you might help them understand some aspects of regulation that seem to make no sense to them.

Another reason attending is a good idea is that these folks are an important market segment of the consumers for sports betting products – and they have keen insights into what is happening in the different markets. You could use this opportunity to solicit their input – it would make you better at your job.

This is really important. My guess is that most bettors think you could care less about them. In these situations, they can think you are just a tool of the industry.

I can assure you that the people who regulate cars, electricity, drugs, or whatever, meet with the consumers of the products they regulate, and not just when there are problems and complaints – because meeting with consumers before there are problems and complaints tends to reduce problems and complaints. To not meet with the market would be foolish. Yet, this is the model that the normal gaming conference supports.

Bet Bash is a chance to meet a critical component of the sports betting demand function, so take advantage of it. Plus, you can make friends to whom you can ask for assistance later when you need the truth, or at least another version of it. These people are not the enemy – these are an important group of the people you represent. They also learned the business by working with mentors and asking questions. They will understand your journey.

This is not to be confused with a two or three-day course to teach you sports betting. Other folks do those, and they are what they are. Bet Bash is bettors talking to bettors about betting and joining in the conversation would help you get more familiar with the language, concepts, and culture of this complex and fascinating world – and get more familiar with betting customers by meeting them. Plus, it is fun.

This is not a degen prom. You will find this and that and everything in between at Bet Bash. There will be a smattering of college professors, PhDs, and the like. Lots of math whizzes and a few dolts. You will find people who live by the bet and live well – and people who should probably not be betting. You will find everyday people who have made handicapping a hobby or are just interested in the scene. Overall, the mood is cool, and no one seems to be looking for favors or trouble. This has been an amazingly congenial group. They just want to talk about sports betting, learn things, and tell (often hilarious) stories.

If we can get enough regulators to attend, who want to learn and immerse themselves for a few days in all things betting (oh, and the food, pools, and parties), we might even get Spanky to set up a panel or something to help you along. And if Spanky is too busy, I will be around to point you to areas that might help. For, after all, I speak regulation.

Think it over. You will be smarter for it. If the regulators will attend an industry-sponsored event, why would they not want to attend one sponsored by and for players?

The event is set for August 8-11 at the Circa Las Vegas. Registration and more information can be found at https://betbash.co/.

Articles by Author: Richard Schuetz

Richard Schuetz started dealing blackjack for Bill Harrah 47 years ago, and has traveled the world as a casino executive, educator and regulator. He is sincerely appreciative of the help he received from his friends and colleagues throughout the gaming world in developing this article, understanding that any and all errors are his own.