In their noble attempts to stem the tide of problematic sports betting advertising and promotions, New York gambling regulators acknowledged they may have gone a bit overzealous. Specifically, it seems, regarding affiliate marketers, such as the parent company of PlayNY.
Legal sports betting in NY has risen to unprecedented levels. The addition of online sportsbooks in January 2022 turned the Empire State into the largest US sports betting market.
With the growth of legal sports betting in NY, there is a need to increase responsible gambling efforts, officials say.
NY sports betting rules aimed at operators, not affiliates
The result was a package of regulations from the New York State Gaming Commission to address concerns and promote responsible gaming.
During a public meeting on Monday, the NYSGC backed off a proposal that would “effectively prohibit affiliate marketing business from being compensated,” an unintended consequence of language forbidding third-party deals based on customer acquisition and retention. Realizing that affiliates were not the intended target of the rules, the NYSGC revised the proposal’s wording.
The gaming commission’s staff advised the board that fixed-sum compensation deals were permitted under state law. NYSGC staff recommended affiliates be subject to the existing statute.
“What we’re doing today is allowing third-party marketing, and I understand that that is probably something that has been done in other jurisdictions,” said Commission Chair Brian O’Dwyer.
Media transparency is always good
Affiliates did not get off scot-free. An additional amendment requires affiliate marketers to disclose business practices on their sites.
O’Dwyer added that he and the commission would be monitoring affiliate marketers.
“I personally will be looking very, very carefully at the marketing in the next six months to a year,” he said. “If I find that within the next six months to a year that there has been significant problems with this type of advertising, I will come back to the staff and to my fellow commissioners and ask that we revisit the rule and prohibit third-party advertising.”
The sports betting rules package is under review for adoption into the State Register.
The commission’s package of sports betting rules was designed to hold gambling operators accountable for their business practices, some of which have come under recent public scrutiny. Online sportsbooks, in particular, are being criticized for misleading customers, targeting young people and limiting winning bettors. In March, the NYSGC elected to tighten restrictions on sports betting ads.
Sports wagering ad regulations from other states, such as Arizona, Massachusetts, Ohio and Virginia, influenced NY’s efforts, officials said.
Doing our part
Disclosure: PlayNY is a regional website under Catena Media, a gaming affiliate marketer. Here is a more detailed process of how PlayNY works.
Content created by Catena Media may include affiliate links to online sports betting and online casino business partners.
Affiliates operate similarly to traditional newspapers because content/editorial/news are separate departments from revenue/circulation/advertising. Nearly all affiliate marketers in the gaming space adhere to ethical reporting standards and practices, including Catena Media, which employs dozens of former journalists and credentialed media members.