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NY Congressman Says Ban on Sports Betting Ads is Stalling

Earlier this year, US Rep. Paul Tonko, D-20th introduced a bill that would induce a federal ban on sports betting advertisements nationwide. Fast-forwarding several months to now, and it seems that the legislation titled H.R. 967 has not gained much traction and the bill is no further along in Congress today than it was back at the start of the year.

His proposal came after the public and addiction experts shared their concerns about the increasing popularity of mobile sports betting and the related influx of betting commercials and endorsements. Despite launching in January 2022, the Empire State’s online market quickly surpassed New Jersey and Nevada in both handle and state tax revenue.

Bill Hasn’t Progressed

When speaking at the Racing and Gaming Conference at Saratoga in August, Mr. Tonko explained that there is a need to battle aggressive marketing strategies by sportsbook operators. Currently, several states are trying to deal with such marketing, and Mr. Tonko repeated that federal regulations are needed to address those gambling ads.

He further elaborated that his legislation would not be a straight bon on mobile sports betting, and instead, it targets predatory advertising that has coincided with a substantial increase in gambling addictions. His proposal was referred to the House of Energy and Commerce Committee, which he is a member of. The said committee has jurisdiction over healthcare at a federal level.

Upon the presentation of the Betting on Our Future Act, the lawmaker noted that sports gambling ads pose a particularly dangerous threat to adolescents and young adults who are unaware of the risks of gambling. But, currently, the status of the congressman’s legislation is undecided. At this point, he remains the only sponsor of the February 2023 legislation.

Additionally, Mr. Tonko said that in the years the Supreme Court decriminalized sports wagering, these unregulated ads have become quite a problem, as betting companies pour billions into making sure that their ads reach every household in the U.S. That is why he believes that the uncensored and excessive promotions of betting sites must be put in check.

Market Continues to Grow

In the meantime, the Empire State’s mobile sports betting market continues to grow, as in July 2023, the state celebrated reaching the critical milestone of US$25 billion in handled sports wagers online. This was done in less than 18 months, making NYS the quickest legal jurisdiction in the country to achieve the number.

On top of the increasing popularity of mobile sports wagers, lawmakers such as New York Sen. Joe Addabbo, are looking to introduce online casino play and internet lottery as a legal option. He said the CA$1 billion from mobile sports wagering for education was a monumental milestone. That is why the lawmaker urges for further expansion of the gaming offerings.