Ahead of Sunday’s Super Bowl LVII, New York congressman Paul Tonko wants to take action against the abundance of sports betting advertisements. Most recently, he has introduced the “Betting on our Future Act,” which if passed a law, would ban all online and electronic sports betting commercials in New York and across the country as a whole.
The Empire State is one of the U.S. jurisdictions that runs an online sports betting market, and with the upcoming Super Bowl weekend a large wagering volume is expected to occur. However, easy access to sports betting could also be harmful to locals, as recently the state reported increasing cases of compulsive gambling among young adults.
Speaking on his legislation, Mr. Tonko explained that over the weekend millions of U.S. households will watch the show, and will be exposed to tons of sports betting ads by operators such as DraftKings, FanDuel and others. He further explains that there will be numerous ads promoting ‘risk-free’ or ‘no sweat’ bets in an attempt to gain more customers.
He continued by saying since the Supreme Court decriminalized sports wagering, these unregulated commercials have run wild, and betting brands have spent billions to make sure that they reach every TV screen across the country. In his words, these ads pose a particularly dangerous threat to adolescents and young adults who are unaware of the potential gambling risks.
His legislation is inspired by the Federal Cigarette Labeling and Advertising Act, which went into effect in 1966. Mr. Tonko added that the excessive, uncensored promotion of the websites, must be put in check. According to him, if passed as law, the bill will cease the dangerous practice and send out a powerful message to online sports betting companies.
Additionally, the congressman used a recently released report by the National Problem Gambling Helpline Network to support his stance. According to the organization, calls to it have increased by 45% in 2021, meanwhile, sports wagering companies have spent US$500 million on advertising in 2020, and that between 60-80% of high schoolers have participated in gambling for money.
More Young Adults Report Issues
Another concerning piece of findings was also recently published by the New York Council on Problem Gambling. At the start of this month, the organization said that it saw an uptick in compulsive gambling among young adults between the age of 18- to 24-year-olds. According to the council, people in the range have now become pathological gamblers.
Local lawmakers are also worried about the effect of gambling ads on Empire State residents. In the middle of January 2023, democrats Luis R. Sepúlveda and Leroy Comrie introduced a bill which will mandate all gambling and sports betting commercials in the state to include warnings about a possible negative effects and the number for the problem gambling hotline.
Source: Edelstein, Jeff “New York Congressman Introduces Bill To Ban Sportsbook Advertising” SportsHandle, February 9, 2023