New Jersey Committee Passes Bills To Address Gambling Advertising

March 21, 2023
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In the latest sign of U.S. legislative pushback on sports-betting advertising, bills to condemn the volume of gambling ads and ban marketing partnerships between sportsbook operators and New Jersey colleges have been advanced by the state Assembly’s gaming committee.

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In the latest sign of U.S. legislative pushback on sports-betting advertising, bills to condemn the volume of gambling ads and ban marketing partnerships between sportsbook operators and New Jersey colleges have been advanced by the state Assembly’s gaming committee.

After an hour-long meeting, the New Jersey Assembly’s Committee on Gaming, Tourism and the Arts voted 7-0 on Monday (March 20) to pass Bill A.5226 to prohibit all marketing partnerships between sports wagering operators and “public institutions of higher education.”

Committee chair Ralph Caputo, a Democrat, said he introduced the bill after reading about partnerships between colleges and sports-betting operators in other states, including a since-amended agreement between PointsBet and the University of Colorado that had previously entitled the university to additional fees based on player sign-ups.

The New Jersey committee vote comes after Ohio, Massachusetts and most recently New York have taken similar steps to prohibit advertising on college campuses. Legislation to ban incentive-based payments to colleges or their marketing agents was also approved last week in Maryland, while similar legislation is under consideration in Connecticut.

Caputo described any marketing arrangements that would enable colleges to profit directly from student betting activity as “obscene.”

“There are other universities that have gotten into these kinds of contracts, and it’s a left-hand turn in terms of getting into our youth,” he said. “I mean, they can be enticed without being incentivized by the college they are attending.”

Also during Monday’s meeting, the Assembly gaming committee unanimously approved two further bills related to problem gambling.

Bill A.420 would establish a New Jersey gambling diversion court modeled on a similar program in Nevada that allows a specialist judge to handle the cases of gambling addicts who commit crimes in furtherance of their disorder.

Bill A.5308, meanwhile, would require New Jersey school districts to provide education on the risks of gambling addiction following the next scheduled review of the state education curriculum.

The committee was more divided, however, over a further legislative proposal authored by Caputo to formally condemn “the over-proliferation of pro-gambling advertisements in New Jersey.”

Passage of Assembly Resolution 168 would not have any legal effect, but would still send a message from the state legislature to operators regarding their marketing practices by urging both casinos and sports-betting companies “to exercise restraint and good judgment when engaging in advertisements in the state.”

“Anybody turned a television on lately? You can’t watch a show or anything to do with TV entertainment, any station at all, all you get is these ads,” Caputo said. “To me, these enticements are not doing anything positive for people in the state of New Jersey.”

Caputo, a former Atlantic City casino executive, said he supported allowing gambling advertising in general.

“But this advertising is way over the top. It’s about a thirst for revenue and market share for these companies, you've got big investments involved and they’re competing, but there’s a social impact.”

The Assembly gaming committee approved AR 168 by a one-vote margin of 4-3, with all Democrats voting yes but Republicans opposing the measure.

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