Since the U. S. Supreme Court rejected the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) in 2018, the world of sports betting has never been the same. With one huge ruling, the SCOTUS opened the door for each state to decide what to do with the issue of wagering on sports. After a huge rush of states passing legislation over the past five years, there is now a bit of a “whiplash effect” – the states are now trying to rein in these betting outlets with new regulations.

New Regulations in U. S. and Around the World

This “whiplash” is being felt not only in the U. S. but also around the world. According to a report from Eric Lipton and Kevin Draper of the New York Times, all these regions are beginning to introduce regulations to change how the sites are regulated. In particular, the targets by many regulatory agencies seem to be directed toward the advertising that is offered.

According to Lipton and Draper several nations, including some traditionally strong sports betting markets such as Australia and the United Kingdom, have passed new regulations that put stringent regulations on the usage of celebrity sponsorships. In the Netherlands and Belgium, new advertising guidelines will prohibit public advertisement of gaming outlets – no television ads, no newspapers or radio, and no billboard advertising in public spaces. The new regulations also looked to crack down on underage gambling and how the companies’ marketing might appeal to such illegal customers.

The States of America is playing catchup in the sports betting industry. Since 2018, 33 states have passed regulations that allow bettors within their state to wager on sports. Four states – Kentucky, Maine, Nebraska, and Florida – are in a state of flux regarding the issue, Florida in particular allowing for sports betting but seeing that action currently tied up in court.  

Regulatory Changes Target Threatening Athletes, Underage Gaming

Lipton and Draper point out a very wide range of new regulations that have been passed in the gaming states that are looking to put more constraints on the industry.

In the state of Ohio, there has been an aggressive approach from the Ohio Casino Control Commission to enforce their legal betting age of 21. The authors of the article point out that over $800,000 in fines have been handed out since the state opened for business in January. Penn Entertainment, through their gaming outlet Barstool Sports, was fined for a promotion on a school campus where the predominance of attendees was under the legal gaming age. DraftKings was hammered with a fine for their usage of “free” bets and mailing of advertisements to underage people.

Particularly disturbing, however, is the increase in threats against college and professional players from losing bettors, according to Lipton and Draper. In Illinois, the athletic director of the University of Illinois-Urbana/Champaign presented multiple pages of “crude and racist” remarks that were made toward members of their athletic teams regarding failures on the field. Along with Illinois, the states of Ohio, West Virginia, and Massachusetts are considering new rules that would force sites to ban bettors if they are harassing or threatening athletes.

The Times duo also cites Chris Boucher, a forward for the National Basketball Association’s Toronto Raptors, about a social media contact he received. Boucher, the guest on a podcast in March, picked out one heinous message – “I chose the wrong slave today.”

The betting sites are behind efforts to help prevent such behavior, but they are most concerned with not getting any more regulations put on their business. The American Gaming Association has sounded off on the subject, indicating it would be against actions such as those occurring overseas. It is going to be an interesting balancing act. How do the states look to provide a legal business for their citizens – while continuing to rake in the lucrative revenues from the activity of sports betting – and making sure that it is “safe” and protects those who might be susceptible to problems from that very activity?

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