Congressman Paul Tonko has introduced the “Betting on our Future Act,” and if passed, it would ban all online and electronic sports betting advertising.
“This Sunday, millions of families across the U.S. will tune in to watch the Super Bowl. Between the plays, the halftime show, and the excitement, tens of millions will be bombarded by ad after ad from DraftKings, FanDuel, and others promising so called ‘risk free’ or ‘no sweat’ bets in their ruthless pursuit to get new customers hooked on their products,” Tonko said in a statement announcing the bill. “In the years since the Supreme Court legalized sports betting, these unfettered advertisements have run rampant, with betting companies shelling out billions to ensure they reach every screen across America. These ads pose a particularly dangerous threat to adolescents and young adults unaware of the risks involved in gambling, and to individuals prone to addiction.”
Tonko’s proposed law is modeled after the Federal Cigarette Labeling and Advertising Act, which went into effect in 1966.
Today, I’m introducing the Betting on our Future Act to take federal action to reel in the problematic rise of predatory advertising by sports gambling companies. Many of you may have noticed these incessant ads, which experts say are contributing to a rise in problem gambling. pic.twitter.com/Uuo7NYjEvu
— Paul Tonko (@RepPaulTonko) February 9, 2023
“The excessive, uncensored promotion of these sites needs to be put in check,” Tonko continued. “My legislation puts a halt to this dangerous practice and sends a powerful message to the online sports betting advertisers. Congress must take the necessary steps to reel in an industry with the power to inflict real, widespread harm on the American people.”
A warning a week ago
In a fact sheet touting the reasons why sports betting advertising should be outlawed, Tonko cites the following bits of information: Calls to the National Problem Gambling Helpline Network were up 45% in 2021; sports betting companies spent $500 million on advertising in 2020; and 60-80% of high school students have gambled for money.
Tonko’s bill comes a week after former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie — who guided New Jersey all the way to the United States Supreme Court in an eventual victory to overturn PASPA — spoke about this very subject on the Gamble On podcast.
“I’ve been very encouraged by the way the states have regulated it, they need to continue to regulate it the right way, because if they don’t, the feds will try and get involved and that’s something we don’t want to have happen,” he said of sports betting in general.
— Robert Walker (@robertusfsports) January 5, 2019
This isn’t the first time federal lawmakers have stuck their beaks into the sports betting waters; in 2018, then-Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch, alongside New York Sen. Chuck Schumer, introduced the “Sports Wagering Market Integrity Act,” which would have forced states to seek approval from the U.S Attorney General for their sports betting regulatory frameworks.
That bill didn’t make it out of committee.