Kansas Senate To Take Up Sports-Betting Advertising Ban

February 5, 2024
A measure aimed at prohibiting online advertising for sports betting in Kansas is the latest effort by lawmakers to curb public exposure to gambling advertisements.

A measure aimed at prohibiting online advertising for sports betting in Kansas is the latest effort by lawmakers to curb public exposure to gambling advertisements.

Senate Bill 432, introduced last week by Senators Cindy Holscher, a Democrat, and Republican Virgil Peck, would require the executive director of the Kansas Lottery to adopt regulations by January 1, 2025 to prohibit all “advertisements published through internet websites, other online mediums or electronic device applications.”

The Kansas legislature approved both retail and mobile sports betting in April 2022, with wagering launched on September 1, 2022. Under the state law, the Kansas Lottery regulates sports betting.

If approved, the lottery's new rules would have to ensure that “no advertisements for sports wagering shall be published, broadcast or otherwise presented through any internet website, other online medium or electronic device application, except such advertisements may be published as part of the content offered by an interactive sports wagering platform that has been affirmatively accessed by an individual holding an account with such platform.”

The measure also would not apply to any advertising that was conducted pursuant to a contract in effect on July 1, 2024. SB 432 was referred Thursday (February 1) to the Senate Committee on Federal and State Affairs.

The topic of sports-betting advertising has become increasingly controversial since the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the federal ban in May 2018, leading to an overabundance of sportsbook ads on television and radio, as well as in print and digital outlets.

Currently, 38 states and the District of Columbia have legalized sports betting but none have put in place any regulations to generally prohibit advertising, although various rules are in place to prevent advertising to minors and on college campuses, among other things.

Sports leagues including the National Football League (NFL) have also set limits on sports-betting advertising.

The NFL confirmed last week that viewers will only see three sports-betting ads during the Super Bowl broadcast on Sunday (February 11).

David Highhill, the NFL’s general manager for sports betting, told reporters in a conference call there will be one sports-betting ad right before kickoff and two others during the game. It is not clear whether some sportsbook operators will choose to advertise locally instead of nationally during the Super Bowl.

The NFL has “tri-exclusive” partnership deals with FanDuel, DraftKings and Caesars. The deals agreed to in 2021 are valued at a combined $1bn over five years. 

According to the American Gaming Association’s (AGA) Responsible Gaming Code of Conduct, sports-betting advertising and marketing should include a responsible gaming message and/or a toll-free help line number and reflect generally accepted contemporary standards of good taste.

The AGA’s code also requires advertisements to not contain claims or representations that gambling activity will guarantee an individual’s social, financial or personal success, or be put in front of an audience where most in attendance are minors.

The industry standards also prohibit operators from having a presence on college campuses, after several universities signed deals with sports-betting companies that in some cases allowed them to market directly to students.

Sports-Betting Advertising In Penalty Box

Concerns over the impact of gambling advertising on society are also leading to significant changes in Ontario

Starting on February 28, new rules from the Alcohol and Gaming Commission (AGCO) of Ontario will block the use of professional athletes, celebrities and cartoon characters from being used in advertisements.

Among the promotional deals affected by the new rules is BetMGM’s contract with Wayne Gretzky and Edmonton Oiler Connor McDavid. Bet99 also has a partnership with Toronto Maple Leafs star Auston Matthews. An exemption is made for the use of athletes to promote responsible gambling practices.

“Children and youth are heavily influenced by the athletes and celebrities they look up to,” Tom Mungham, registrar and CEO of the AGCO, said in a statement. “We’re therefore increasing measures to protect Ontario’s youth by disallowing the use of these influential figures to promote online betting in Ontario.”

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