Just over a year since New York legalized sports betting, the New York State Gaming Commission (NYSGC) approved new restrictions on advertising. The rules by and large forbid sports betting marketing to underage individuals.
The regulations will not take effect for 60 days, as they must first go through a public comment period.
Among the new rules approved on Monday is one that says “…“a casino sports wagering licensee or sports pool vendor shall not allow, conduct, or participate in any advertising, marketing, or branding for sports wagering that is aimed at persons under the minimum age.” So, no marketing directly to anyone who is under 21.
Of course, an operator might not specifically gear an advertisement toward kids, but could still be seen by kids. The NYSGC thought of that, stating that an ad cannot be shown anywhere “where there is a reasonably foreseeable percentage of the composition of the audience that is persons under the minimum wagering age.”
For instance – and this is obviously an extreme example – a gambling operator can’t run a sports betting commercial on the Disney Channel at 4:30pm, even if there is nothing specifically in the ad that would appeal to children.
While it might be tricky for operators to navigate the rules in some instances, in others, it is pretty cut and dry. Sports betting, for example, cannot be advertised on college campuses or in school-owned news assets (exceptions will be made for ads that might be available to college students, but are not specifically targeting the school, like an ad in the city newspaper). Advertisements also cannot depict underage persons, though that would be really weird if that happened, even without the new regulations.
The new regulations also aim to combat misleading advertising, taking particular aim at ads that tout promotions as “risk free” or “free” if someone is still required to bet with their own money. Affiliates of gambling operators must abide by the rules, as well.
At least one lawmaker from New York wants to take things even further. Representative Paul Tonko, who serves in the US Congress, introduced the “Betting on Our Future Act” in early February that would ban all electronic and online sports betting advertising.
Tonko based the bill on a law that bans cigarette ads, which could be an effective counter to those who argue that if sports betting is legal and operated by regulated companies, then advertising should be allowed. You don’t see cigarette commercials on television, though, so there is clearly a precedent to outlaw marketing for products that might be considered harmful.