Regulators Tighten Up Regulations Surrounding NY Sports Betting Ads

Written By Matt Boecker on March 2, 2023
ny sports betting advertising regulations new york state gaming commission

The New York State Gaming Commission (NYSGC) held a meeting on Monday and unanimously voted to enact stricter regulations on the types of advertising, marketing and promotions allowed by sports betting operators in the Empire State.

As detailed during the NYSGC public meeting, the commission proposed rules to “regulate sports wagering advertising, marketing, and promotion.” Specifically to ease concerns “regarding the advertising and marketing of sports wagering at college and university campuses, and generally regarding promotional language.”

However, all told, the commission approved “a package of rules” to support responsible gambling in New York while also protecting state residents.

Before the new NY sports betting rules are written into law, they must first go through a 60-day public comment period. During that time, New Yorkers will have the chance to voice their opinions on the new regulation before the NYSGC makes a final decision.

NY sports betting regulators concerned about problem gambling

Licensed New York sportsbooks began taking wagers in January 2022, and operators made almost $1.36 billion in gross gaming revenue last year. The state earned $693.6 million in taxes thanks to sports betting.

While that’s great on paper, lawmakers also realize the negative impacts that arise from granting easy access to sports betting.

“After one year it’s obvious that the introduction of legal online sports waging has been a net positive to the people of New York,” Brian O’Dwyer, chair of the NYSGC, said during the meeting, emphasizing how much New York sports betting has generated in state tax revenue.

“However, the commission is also cognizant that along with the success comes the potential for problem gambling and irresponsible placing of wagers. This is especially true in young men and women whose interest in college and professional sports is often coupled with gaming activity.”

O’Dwyer noted that these new regulations represent “an important first step in achieving these objectives.” After one year of online sports betting in New York, he said, “it is particularly incumbent on us to understand both the successes and problems engendered by this legislation.”

Protecting underage bettors is a goal

A major goal of the new regulations is to limit the exposure of sports betting advertisements and marketing to underage bettors. You must be 21 or older to legally wager in the Empire State.

Specifically, lawmakers hope to prohibit “online methods of attracting underage persons,” along with self-excluded individuals.

“We definitely saw an increase in calls to our program and people looking for help,” Michelle Hadden, assistant executive director with the New York Council on Problem Gambling, told Legal Sports Report, “including a lot of moms of college-age students.”

Under the new regulations, the state would prohibit sports betting advertisements on college and university campuses. Depictions of underage persons in advertisements would also be illegal.

“I am satisfied,” O’Dwyer said, “that the proposed regulations are an important initial step in addressing the concerns of the commissioners regarding the targeting of college campuses for the promotion of mobile sports wagering.”

‘Deceptive’ promotions coming to an end

The NYSGC is trying to improve the experience for all New York bettors while maintaining responsible gambling habits. This includes tidying up the types of promotions sportsbooks are allowed to run.

The prohibition of “false, deceptive or misleading statements” would be enacted. This includes using terms like “risk-free” when describing a promotion that requires a bettor from using their own money.

Promotions and other marketing efforts must “clearly and conspicuously disclose material facts, terms and conditions to potential customers.” This means no more major details of a promotion buried in the fine print of the terms and conditions.

The package of rules approved include:

  • Firmly establishing licensee responsibility for the content of their advertising, marketing and branding
  • Prohibiting false, deceptive or misleading statements
  • Requiring marketing and promotions to clearly and conspicuously disclose material facts, terms and conditions to potential customers
  • Requiring an opt-out functionality to block receipt of future direct advertisements
  • Prohibiting designs aimed to appeal primarily to underage persons
  • Prohibiting advertising to a target audience that is reasonably foreseeable to comprise underage persons
  • Banning advertising on college and university media

The push for a crackdown on sports betting ads

New York lawmakers have been striving to limit the advertisements and marketing by gaming operators for a while now.

Just recently, the New York Asssembly passed a bill to require all gambling ads to include warnings about the potential harmful and addictive effects of gambling. The Senate features an identical bill. Plus, a few weeks ago, NY congressman Paul Tonko introduced the “Betting on Our Future Act,” which would eliminate sportsbook advertisements on TV, radio and the internet.

With the NYSGC giving the thumbs up to these new regulations, it marks another clear effort to address and prevent problem gambling.

Photo by PlayNY
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Matt Boecker

Born in Oak Lawn, Illinois, Matt graduated from Northern Illinois University, where he covered NIU hockey for the Northern Star. Since then, Matt has specialized in NFL and NBA coverage for various websites and podcasts before shifting gears to casino and sports betting coverage.

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