The New York State Gaming Commission (NYSGC) on Monday unanimously approved new rules for sports betting operators when it comes to their advertising, marketing, and promotions in an effort to protect vulnerable populations in the state.
The rules, which must go through a 60-day public comment period before taking effect, are largely designed to keep operators from targeting underage bettors. The legal age to wager on sports in New York is 21.
One of the rules stipulates that “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.” It also seeks to ban operators from advertising on any form of media “where there is a reasonably foreseeable percentage of the composition of the audience that is persons under the minimum wagering age.”
Legislative efforts to limit the reach and tenor of sports betting advertising have gained steam across the nation in recent weeks. New York Senators Luis R. Sepúlveda and Leroy Comrie introduced a bill in January that would instruct the gaming commission to ensure that all gambling advertisements include New York’s problem gambling hotline number (1-877-8-HOPENY), mirroring a similar Ohio law.
A more extreme measure introduced in Congress this month by Democratic Rep. Paul Tonko of New York would treat sports betting like cigarettes and ban all broadcast advertisements under the jurisdiction of the FCC.
New rules also target affiliate deals
Legal New York sports betting launched in January 2022, and the state’s bettors placed nearly $16.2 billion in wagers in the first calendar year. That produced gross gaming revenue for the operators of nearly $1.36 billion, netting the state $693.6 million in new taxes.
“After one year, it is obvious that the introduction of legal online sports wagering has been a net positive for people in New York. However, the commission is also cognizant that, along with the success, comes the potential for problem gambling,” NYSGC Chair Brian O’Dwyer said at Monday’s meeting.
The new rules also would prohibit “false, deceptive, or misleading statements” in ads and ban the terms “free” or “free of risk” if a bettor is risking their own money. It also stipulates that advertisers must “clearly and conspicuously” disclose all material terms and conditions of the promotion and bans advertising on college campuses.
Furthermore, the rules contain a ban on advertising contracts with third-party affiliates (like Sports Handle‘s parent company, Better Collective) in which those affiliates are paid based on quantity of bets or customer sign-ups. Massachusetts, which is set to launch mobile betting next month, has debated a similar ban.
In late November, The New York Times published a series of articles based on an investigation into the sports betting industry and its meteoric rise after the Supreme Court struck down PASPA in 2018. Among the Times’ findings was that at least eight universities nationwide had partnered with sports betting companies in some capacity.
March is Problem Gambling Awareness Month.