New Rule Requires Gaming Commission Approval Of Jackpocket, Ads

Written By Grant Lucas on February 28, 2023

The New York State Gaming Commission voted Monday to amend its Lottery Courier Service Advertising rules, which will affect how the likes of Jackpocket and will market themselves in New York.

By a near-unanimous vote, the NYSGC approved a proposal that aims to curb the language within the advertising of Jackpocket and, otherwise known as lottery couriers.

“The proposal aims to prevent false, deceptive or misleading advertising, such as stating or implying that a customer may ‘play’ the lottery through the courier service’s platform or purchase a lottery ticket directly from the courier service. A courier service, instead, may market its actual services: fulfilling orders for the purchase of a lottery ticket from a licensed lottery sales agent and delivering tickets to the customer.”

Only one commissioner dissented, unofficially proposing instead to have a higher body revisit the state’s New York Lottery courier regulations or perhaps even prevent those businesses from operating in the state altogether.

Obviously that idea didn’t gain traction. Insead, the NYSGC approved the regulatory proposal to crack down on advertising.

How new rule affects NY Lottery couriers

As detailed in the proposal, this new regulation incorporates the rules set forth in the North American Association of State and Provincial Lottery Advertising Guidelines, “which encourage responsible lottery advertising practices,” according to the NYSGC. On top of that, this new rule requires problem gambling assistance messaging that is required for casinos.

The rule change now requires a lottery courier service to submit draft advertisements to the NYSGC at least 15 days prior to its desired dissemination. The commission would then have 10 days to ensure the draft complies with state regulations.

All advertising shall only include factual — and cannot feature false, deceptive or misleading — information. Among other requirements, ads should also clearly and conspicuously contain a problem gambling assistance message with contact information. There should also be an option for recipients to opt out of future advertisements.

One of the sticking points, however, surrounded the word “play.” From the original proposed rule:

“A courier service shall not market nor advertise such courier service’s platform as providing an opportunity to ‘play’ lottery games or ‘buy’ lottery tickets directly from the courier service through such platform. A courier service may market or advertise services such as the procurement or delivery of a lottery ticket, for example, referring to itself as a ‘digital lottery courier.’ A courier service shall not market services as ‘digital lottery.'”

How Jackpocket, responded to rule proposal

For its part, Jackpocket objected to the proposal. During a public comment period earlier this month, the company noted that “a new way to play is exactly what a lottery courier service provides,” emphasizing “play” to address the NYSGC’s concern of lottery players potentially confusing “playing” the lottery versus purchasing lottery tickets via couriers.

Jackpocket, which began operating in New York in early 2021, added that when the NYSGC authorized lottery courier services, it surely knew it was “establishing a new method for playing the lottery.” In fact, Jackpocket argued, the commission regulated courier services “with that goal in mind.”

The company then warned that “precluding a licensed lottery courier from ‘solicitations of “playing the lottery” are an unnecessary overreach that will lead to unintended consequences and unfavorable economic conditions,'” according to the NYSGC. While it did not expound on those consequences, Jackpocket did note that the “end effect would be less participation in the lottery system.”, meanwhile, emphasized that it may not have the ability to advertise a Powerball or Mega Millions jackpot if the NYSGC adopted these new regulations that require 15 days’ notice. In addition, the group pointed out that the NYSGC does not require anything like this for licensed retailers in the state, who “largely remain free to advertise in an unfettered manner.”

Photo by AP / Adam Hunger
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Grant Lucas

Grant Lucas is the managing editor for PlayNY. A longtime, award-winning sports writer, Grant has covered gambling and legal sports betting since 2018, when he got his start reporting on the New Jersey and Pennsylvania industries. He now oversees PlayNY as New York expands legalized gambling to sports betting and online casino gaming.

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