The CEO of Odds on Compliance, Eric Frank, joins Ryan Knuppel on the show to talk about regulation and “Playbook” that can help relieve issues in this space.

Ryan Knuppel

Hey, what’s going on everybody? Ryan Knuppel here, Knup Sports Show, Episode 163. I’m excited that you’re here listening to us today. Thanks for giving us a little bit of your time and talking sports, talking regulated sports betting. Today, we’re talking a little bit of compliance with our special guest, who I’ll introduce here in just a few minutes. But I hope you guys are doing well. Everybody that’s paying attention here. Lots going on in the world of sports and sports betting following the NBA playoffs, lots going on in the NBA right now as well. But, hey. Let’s get down to business today. We love to have special guests, leaders, people in this industry who are doing great things, and I got the honor and pleasure to meet this individual. Oh, man. It might have been a month ago, and I’m excited now to have him on the show and to introduce him and what he’s doing to our guests as well. Without further ado, I’m going to bring on Eric Frank, the CEO of Odds On Compliance. Eric, thanks for being here.

Eric Frank

Hey, how’s it going? Thanks for having me, Ryan.

Ryan Knuppel

Hey, doing really well. You know what? It was a pleasure to meet you back, I think it was at the SBC gathering down in South Florida where you’re residing. You’re down that way?

Eric Frank

Yeah. I’m down in South Florida. We’ve got an exciting game tonight, hopefully the heat can bring it home, but should be good.

Ryan Knuppel

Yeah. It’s been an exciting NBA playoffs. At least you have a team to follow. Here in Orlando the magic didn’t quite pan out and man, they’re just the doormat of the NBA right now. But, anyway. It was a pleasure to meet you at that event, and we got to talking, and really I love what you’re doing with Odds On Compliance. We’re going to dive in and talk about what that is and what you guys offer and where you’re headed. But first, Eric, tell me a little bit about yourself and maybe your career path leading up to where you are today.

Eric Frank

Sure. Yeah. No, I appreciate it. So, my background. I practiced law for about 10 years at an Am Law 100 firm, exclusively in the gaming industry, started in 2008, so right around the financial crisis. We were closing casinos, this was up in New Jersey. Then 2009/2010 opening casinos in new markets, land based casinos that is, in new markets like Pennsylvania and New York and Maryland, Massachusetts. Then online comes around to the US in 2012/2013 in New Jersey and Nevada, and I really focused my practice there. Fast forward to 2015, I went in-house to PokerStars, which is the largest online poker provider globally, started as their US regulatory council, and then grew into a role as their global compliance officer. We have licenses in 25 jurisdictions. We launched PokerStars in a few states in the US, after a long hiatus. As well as FOX Bet, which was their sports betting partnership with FOX Sports.

Eric Frank

Did that up until beginning of 2021, when I left to start Odds On Compliance, and really Odds On Compliance is a regulatory and compliance technology consulting firm, made up of specialists, experts from the gaming industry and the compliance and regulatory space. So, former regulators, former compliance pros and operators, former third party independent testing lab specialists. Really brought that all together to bring unique perspective to this rather uninteresting topic of compliance and regulatory. But it’s important and critical, especially in the US sports betting market, where things are going on a state by state basis.

Ryan Knuppel

Yeah. That’s what I was going to say. Maybe it’s not exciting to talk about, but man, super important. The service and things that you guys are doing for the space is much needed. I mean, there’s people like myself and there’s many people like me, who just don’t understand, and really, to be quite honest, don’t really want to try to understand all the regulation and compliance and everything that goes around it. Not that we want to ignore it, but it’s just there’s so much there. So, for you guys to gather that all and put it all together. Explain a little bit about how you’ve done that, with maybe Playbook and some of the things that you guys have launched as part of the company.

Eric Frank

Yeah. So, Playbook is exactly that. We’ve aggregated all the statutes, regulations, technical bulletins, advisor opinions, all that information that regulators put out, that’s out there in the ecosystem, we’ve put it all together. We’ve organized it. I mean, it’s not just you Ryan, it’s folks who live and breathe compliance day to day, they struggle. I struggled with this issue at PokerStars, and I know others struggle throughout, organizing all this stuff. New states come on board, old states change information, navigating 30 different regulators websites is difficult. They all have information in different places.

Eric Frank

What we’ve done is we’ve gone and we’ve aggregated all that information, organized it, put it all together in a product we call Playbook. Basically adding some search functionality, which is coming in the next two weeks, excited about that. So, to allow people to run cross state searches, and understand the unique features on a state by state basis, of either operating a sports book or partnering with a sports book. Whether it’s licensing questions for marketing affiliates, or suppliers or operators. Or whether it’s technical specification requirements. We’ve aggregated it all into one place and made it easily searchable.

Ryan Knuppel

That’s what I love about Playbook is… I mean, there’s some companies and some things that you’re like, man, what does that really serve? What does that really address? But this really. It’s like you found a problem and you’re solving that problem. I don’t think anybody can argue if they’re in this space, that it is a problem to keep up with that stuff. I mean, it seems like it’s ever changing, always something new, a new state coming on board, a new bill being signed, a new licensing fee or something or another in some state. Just keeping up with that is nearly impossible. Explain to me, maybe just some of the challenges you guys have went through trying to do this and make this happen and aggregate this. I mean, I can’t imagine trying to keep up with all of this stuff. But just… I don’t know. Give us a few of the challenges that maybe you guys have seen as you started putting this together.

Eric Frank

Yeah. I mean, I think the biggest challenge we had is identifying the scope of materials that need to go in, and that’s where the team of experts that we have at Odds On really were essential to that piece. Then the second piece is maintaining it and keeping it up to date, and that’s where the technology folks we have, I think, are essential. My co-founder and CTO, he comes not from the gaming space, he comes from outside the gaming space and I think that’s been a real benefit to us, looking at these issues from a non gaming perspective and just practical. How do we solve some of the technological issues around keeping websites up to date, knowing whether things change? Using his background at GE and Volkswagen and other places specifically in the IT space, has really, I think, benefited us in hopefully solving those technological issues. Imagine that with the expertise of the gaming team.

Ryan Knuppel

Yeah. You mentioned marketing affiliates, you mentioned some other pieces of the industry that might have reasons to use Odds On Compliance and Playbook. Name some of the industry professional titles and people that may want to think about using something like this. Just give the audience a wider range of like, man. These are the types of people that really could benefit from something like this.

Eric Frank

Yeah. I mean, certainly anyone in legal and compliance is our main targets and our main points of contact. But not every organization is fortunate enough to have a compliance team the size of BetMGM, or FanDuel, or the big guys. People wear a lot of different hats. So, whether it’s the CEO who also reviews all legal contracts and is signing up relationships with operators, wants to understand some of the regulatory implications of signing that contract, or around licensing requirements, around expectations of regulators. I think, certainly the goal of Playbook was to provide an easy enough framework, so someone who’s not day in, day out, living and breathing compliance can still use the site. But at the same time, give those people who are day in, day out, compliance professionals, the tools they need to really focus in on the product and drill in as much as they can.

Ryan Knuppel

That’s awesome. I’m pulling up Playbook here and oddsoncompliance.com as we speak, just so people that are looking can watch. But explain a little bit about, I guess, the usability. How is it used? Is it a log-in system? Is it an app? What’s that look like?

Eric Frank

So, we offer three tiers of service. One, you have them right there. Our highest level is Playbook AI, and that’s what we’ll be launching in about two weeks time. It comes with full functionality, search functionality, so you can ask any Google type question you want, specific to regulations or sports betting or iGaming, iLottery, daily fantasy sports, and the other verticals that we have. You can ask any question you want and get across as many jurisdictions as you want, and compare those responses. Our middle tier is what we call Playbook Plus, which has a lot of the enhanced functionality. So, if you’re looking at a 800 page regulation, we’ve done a few things. We allow people to take notes, annotate the documents, make sure to share that collaborative with their teammates and share that information across other folks within their organization. We’ve embedded definitions into these documents.

Eric Frank

So, if there’s defined terms that usually come on pages one through five of a regulation, and then you’re on page 700 down the line, you don’t want to be scrolling back to the beginning. We’ve actually taken all those definitions, embedded them into the remainder of the document so they’re just accessible on hover over, when you come across a defined term. Little things like that that make day to day life easier for folks. We’ve also added in some insights or quick answers to the typical questions that people ask. We’re also offering Playbook Basic, which is a free service, which allows people to access all the documents, but doesn’t really give them any of the bells and whistles that come with the rest of the product.

Ryan Knuppel

That’s really cool. I love that you have multiple tiers of service. I’m always thinking, being a content guy I’m in the content space and heavily doing content. One of the challenges, and I saw it in all three packages, but these state pages. Updating these state pages that people have, and just keeping that information up to date on their state information pages. I can just tell that this product really can help serve that market as well. Just having that information right there for your research needs, and just helping keep those up to date, it’s such a challenge.

Eric Frank

Yeah. Definitely. Certainly, no. I appreciate the content difficulties that come with that, and new found respect for folks like you, that build a lot of that content, day in, day out. So, right now we focus specifically on providing state pages as an easy access, on a state by state basis. But at the same time, certainly looking in the future to add a lot more in-depth content to state specific pages.

Ryan Knuppel

You led me into the next question I wanted to ask. So, what’s the future look like for you guys? Obviously you’re still building out some of this with Playbook, and sounds like you’re going to continue developing that out to be the best compliance place to go. What else is in the future? What are you guys looking to do?

Eric Frank

Yeah. So, at the end of the day, what we are focused on is building technology that will help the industry do a better job complying with their obligations. So, however we can do that, we think Playbook is step one of that, providing access to all that information. But it’s the first step there. There’s certainly a lot more we want to build around licensing efficiencies, around auditing requirements, gap analysis type work that we want to get done. So, there’s a lot of unique features, or a lot of unique ideas that we have and also our clients have. I mean, the other important piece for this is our consulting practice, and making sure that… Whether it’s a big operator that wants help launching in new markets, or improving their systems internally, or a startup operator or supplier looking to get licensed or looking for assistance and understanding of a set of regulations, that’s critical to our business as well.

Ryan Knuppel

I certainly commend you for taking on such a challenging topic, but I guess with your background and your history, this probably isn’t… I wouldn’t say, isn’t challenging. But I commend you for all you’ve done here with Playbook. I can tell you being in the industry and talking to as many people as I talk to in the industry, this is a challenge, and this is something that’s needed. So, I’d urge all you guys, ladies and gentlemen that are watching this, get ahold of Eric, check out oddsoncompliance.com, see what they can help you with. I know they can help you with something in this space. So, I’d urge you to reach out to Eric. Eric, how would somebody reach out to you or get ahold of you guys?

Eric Frank

Yeah, sure. They can, like I said, visit oddsoncompliance.com, email me [email protected] Yeah. I mean, at the end of the day, our goal is to help folks, large, small, everything in-between, understand and deal with their regulatory issues. It is a challenge for sure, but sadly it’s a passion that I have. I think my team shares that passion too. So, we enjoy what we do. Interestingly, the best part of this is talking to folks, coming up with unique product ideas, or things that don’t fit the black and white of regulation and helping them understand scoping arguments, framing arguments, to how this fits within frameworks that aren’t really built to meet unique, interesting ideas and helping people through that process.

Ryan Knuppel

That’s the funny quote of the day. Sadly, it’s a passion of mine. That’s how I feel sometimes too, when people are like, “You just love content or what?” I’m like, “Yeah. Sadly it’s what I love. I don’t know why.” Oh, well, Eric, I appreciate your time here. Any last words, anything we missed? Anything you wanted to touch on, or say to the listeners before we let you go here?

Eric Frank

Yeah. No, nothing else. Appreciate, again, the opportunity to join, and look forward to hearing from folks. Appreciate this. Didn’t get as much time to talk about sports as I wanted, but I did watch the Orlando MLS team this weekend get crushed by the Red Bulls. So, we’re a rough patch on Orlando, but…

Ryan Knuppel

Yeah. Yeah. MLS is one of the areas here in Orlando that people seem to love. They seem to love their MLS here in Orlando, which I’m not necessarily a soccer guy, but I know many people who are, so it’s interesting. Hey, I was going to ask you, I know the big Formula One event is coming down your way here in a week and a half or so. Is that something you’ve gotten into at all? Are you excited for all of the energy and traffic that’s going to be coming your way?

Eric Frank

Yeah. Yeah. I think I certainly won’t be heading down toward Hollywood and the stadium that weekend. But, no. I think it’s exciting. I mean, I’ve seen them building the track, and over the last couple of months when I drive from my home down to Miami, I pass it. No, I think there’s a lot of good energy around that. It’s going to be a cool week, week and a half of events happening here.

Ryan Knuppel

Yeah. Little shameless plug for the Netflix series on F1. I don’t know if you watched it, The Driver.

Eric Frank

Yeah.

Ryan Knuppel

But man, it’s turned me from a, I don’t even know what F1 is, to I’m a super fan all of a sudden. Love the drivers and I love everything about it. I did not realize it was such a competitive sport within the team. I did not realize that that really… Those two drivers for each team, just man. They just fight, fight, fight it out. It makes sense, but I didn’t think of that being such an issue.

Eric Frank

Yeah.

Ryan Knuppel

Anyway, I know this isn’t an F1 talk, but I’m excited for that. I may make my way down and try to at least just soak in some of the energy of the event somehow. I don’t know. I’m probably asking for trouble by doing that, but you live once, right? Go check it out.

Eric Frank

Yeah, for sure. For sure.

Ryan Knuppel

Well, cool, Eric. I appreciate you, everybody listening. Make sure you reach out to Eric. We’ll put all the links. We’ll put his email, I’ll put the website out on the show notes so it’ll be easy to get to him. Hey, hopefully we’ll see you at a show in the near future maybe. One of these US based shows you’re going to be at I hope.

Eric Frank

Yeah. Yeah, for sure. I’ll probably be up in New York in a couple weeks. But, yeah. For sure.

Ryan Knuppel

Awesome. Sounds good. Take care. We’ll talk to you soon, and we’ll talk to you next time.

Eric Frank

Awesome. Thanks Ryan. Take care.

Ryan Knuppel

All right. That was Eric Frank, Odds On Compliance, Episode 163 is in the book. Super excited to have you listen to Eric. Seems to be one of the great guys in the industry, doing great things obviously with Odds On Compliance. I urge you to reach out to them if you guys have any needs in that compliance space, whether it be just more research, more information, consulting, whatever it is. Don’t come ask me, come ask Eric because I’m not going to be able to help you. But anyway, thanks for listening. Really appreciate the support you guys give this show. If you need anything, I’m Ryan Knuppel, at Knup, at Ryan Knuppel out on LinkedIn, anywhere you can find me. Take care. Until next time stay safe. We’ll talk to you soon. Bye bye.

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