New York To Tighten Regulations For Sports-Betting Advertising

February 24, 2023
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The New York State Gaming Commission is proposing to ban advertising on college campuses and require clearer disclosures for player bonuses as part of new rules to govern sports-betting advertising due to be taken up next week.

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The New York State Gaming Commission (NYSGC) is proposing to ban advertising on college campuses and require clearer disclosures for player bonuses as part of new rules to govern sports-betting advertising due to being taken up next week.

At its monthly meeting on Monday (February 27), the commission is scheduled to discuss and potentially approve a package of new regulations applicable to the advertising, marketing, and promotion of land-based or online sports wagering in what is now by far the largest U.S. sports-betting market.

According to a meeting agenda published on Thursday, New York’s mobile sports wagering operators would be held responsible for “the content and conduct” of all marketing, advertising, and branding done on their behalf, including through marketing affiliates.

Third parties such as affiliates could no longer be compensated based on player activity generated through their marketing.

In a memo to commissioners, NYSGC general counsel Ed Burns said the updated rules were influenced by the American Gaming Association’s Responsible Marketing Code for Sports Wagering, as well as the regulations of several other states, including Arizona, Massachusetts, Ohio, and Virginia.

Under the new rules, sports-betting operators would be banned from targeting underage players or from marketing on college campuses, as in Ohio and Massachusetts.

For player bonuses, operators will have to “clearly and conspicuously disclose material facts, terms and conditions of the promotion to potential contestants and adhere to such terms,” and obtain the player’s “express informed consent” if a deposit is required to obtain the bonus.

Any playthrough requirements associated with a bonus must be disclosed in the same size and font as the amount of the promotion, and the use of the word "free" to describe a bonus offer would be banned.

The upgraded New York regulations are the latest in a series of moves by U.S. policymakers to address the prominence of sports-betting advertising.

Since December, Ohio has aggressively enforced its advertising regulations that include various restrictions similar to those now being proposed in New York.

Regulators and lawmakers in Maine and Connecticut have recently proposed to ban bonuses or other financial offers in advertising, similar to rules in Ontario.

Earlier this month, Republican New York Congressman Paul Tonko introduced federal legislation to prohibit all sports-betting advertising via TV, radio, or digital media, although the bill does not have any co-sponsors and it is far from clear whether it will gain traction in Congress.

The proposed regulations follow concerns expressed by the New York gaming commission’s chairman regarding advertising on college campuses, as well as a recent legislative hearing in which Robert Williams, the commission’s executive director, stated that additional rules were forthcoming.

Regarding advertising on college campuses, Williams said: “Seeking a market from an alumni base is one thing, but marketing must be balanced against the exposure to those who have not yet reached legal gambling age for sports wagering.”

In written testimony submitted to the New York Assembly and Senate gaming committees, Williams also wrote that despite the regulator’s hesitation regarding certain advertising and promotions, “we are mindful that the commission is the operator of the New York Lottery, which itself engages in substantial marketing and promotion, and reject the premise that engagement in gambling is an inherently dangerous activity.”

Alongside new rules for sports-betting advertising, the NYSGC is also scheduled to vote on Monday to adopt new regulations regarding the advertising of lottery courier services such as Jackpocket and Lotto.com.

Among other things, licensed lottery couriers would not be permitted to advertise their platforms as providing an opportunity to play lottery games or buy lottery tickets.

Couriers also would be required to comply with North American Association of State and Provincial Lotteries (NASPL) guidelines and submit proposed ads to the NYSGC 15 days in advance of dissemination.

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