Iowa Officials Seek Fubo Meeting, Rules in Iowa, Ariz., & NJ Protect Account Holders
Posted on: October 18, 2022, 01:09h.
Last updated on: October 18, 2022, 05:12h.
UPDATE (6:10 pm ET) – Fubo reactivated its sportsbook websites earlier Tuesday afternoon. A company spokesperson told Casino.org it will allow account holders in Arizona, Iowa, and New Jersey to log in and process withdrawals. Those unable to do that can contact Fubo’s customer support for help or to request a check payment that they will receive in the mail. Further updates will be available at Fubosportsbook.com.
The director of the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission (IRGC) told Casino.org on Tuesday that the regulatory body has no “current concerns” regarding FuboTV’s decision to shut down its online sportsbook operations.
Iowa was the first state where Fubo Sportsbook launched last year. On Monday, the company announced it will shut down immediately after failing to find a suitable partner during a strategic review period. Since the announcement, the operator’s websites in Arizona, Iowa, and New Jersey don’t give registered customers any chance to log in to their accounts and request a withdrawal.
IRGC Administrator Brian Ohorilko told Casino.org via email Tuesday morning the agency’s understanding is that Fubo temporarily prevented access to their sites so they could update them and disable wagering.
Fubo outlined a process in their notification to the commission that they would notify customers of their plans to shut down, allow for customers to withdraw funds from their app for 30 days, and mail any outstanding fund balances or winning future wagers after the 30 days,” Ohorilko said. “Our office is currently trying to coordinate a meeting with Fubo officials to discuss these steps more thoroughly and receive more frequent updates of player liability as they go through this process.”
Fubo was one of 18 licensed operators in Iowa. The company said Monday it will provide more information at its quarterly earnings call next month.
Iowa, Arizona Require Reserves
Iowa’s sports betting regulations don’t include what steps operators need to take when they close up shop, Ohorilko said. Instead, the IRGC rules focus more on notifying customers and ensuring they receive their funds.
The IRGC does, however, mandate that all regulated online sports betting operators carry a reserve to cover what they owe account holders.
“Fubo has demonstrated compliance of that regulation to the commission,” Ohorilko said. “The casino partner, Casino Queen, is also required to carry a guarantee bond to cover sports wagering liability.”
Max Hartgraves, a public information officer for the Arizona Department of Gaming, told Casino.org that the agency, too, learned of the shutdown on Monday.
“We will gather all relevant information and subsequently work with the licensee to ensure the smooth cessation of operations and appropriate protection of the betting public,” Hartgraves said in an email.
Similar to Iowa, Arizona gaming regulations require sports betting operators to maintain a reserve “greater of either $500,000 or the amount that is necessary to ensure the responsible party’s ability to cover all outstanding event wagering liability and the funds held for player accounts.” That reserve can take the form of cash, cash equivalents, payment processor reserves or receivables, an irrevocable line of credit, a bond, or a combination of those.
Arizona state regulations also say the “responsible party” must notify the department 180 days before “ceasing operations.” The regulations also state operators must “provide a written plan to settle any outstanding liabilities and/or refund player account funds.”
When asked about that rule, Hartgraves said the state would not have any other comment at this time on Fubo’s “sudden cessation.” The department has been in touch with Fubo and considers the case “under active review.”
New Jersey Receives Assurances
A spokesperson for the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement told Casino.org that the agency is in talks with Fubo about its responsibilities as an operator.
“The Division has received assurances that Fubo is working on restoring access to the site in order that patrons can have access to, and withdraw any funds that are on deposit,” Julia Wiacek said. “The Division has expressed to Fubo the importance of communication with its customers during this time and is working with Fubo to ensure the patrons’ interests are protected.”
Fubo Iowa: $513K Handle in Last Quarter
In Iowa, Fubo was one of the smaller operators in the state, according to monthly data from the IRGC.
Through the first three months of the 2022-23 fiscal year, Fubo’s reported a handle of $513,000 in a market where $431.4 million was wagered from July to September. Only three operators reported smaller handles.
Fubo reported net receipts of $16,024, a 3.1% hold. Combined, all retail and online operators reported net receipts of $51 million, which is a hold of 11.8%.
Fubo was online for eight full months of the 2021-22 fiscal year, posting a $2.2 million handle that was the smallest of any operator. It also reported net receipts of $169,472, which equals a 7.9% hold.
Iowa sportsbooks took $2.46 billion in wagers in the 21-22 fiscal year and posted net receipts of $139.6 million for a 5.7% hold.
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