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Congressman Tonko Introduces Legislation to Ban Sports Betting Ads

Last week New York Congressman Paul Tonko (D. NY 20) introduced legislation that would ban all advertising relating to online sports betting and sportsbooks. In introducing the Betting on Our Future Act, Congressman Tonko observed in a recent Article:

“As of today, 36 states have legalized sports betting, with 26 of those legalizing mobile sports betting. Few, if any, impose restrictions on advertisements from sportsbooks. Even worse, many states permit these sportsbooks to deduct these aggressive promotions for tax purposes, reducing their taxable income as well as any potential revenue for state and local governments.
The gambling industry insists that advertising restrictions would be counterproductive. I disagree. When more than $1.8 billion is spent on ad campaigns to bring new customers into the fold, underage and vulnerable individuals will inevitably be swept in as well.
The National Council on Problem Gambling found that between 60 and 80 percent of high school students had gambled for money in the previous year, likely driven by ads on social media and the ease of access to online gambling. Even more disturbing, the group says that 4 to 6 percent of those high schoolers are considered addicted to gambling.”

NYSBA opposes the legislation. We do not believe a ban on this type of advertising is justified. We issued a press release stating:

“We oppose legislation that bans both mobile sports and casino sportsbook advertising in the United States. Advertising is essential to educate consumers in this highly competitive market. The tax revenue generated by sports betting has helped to finance essential government services for citizens throughout New York State. It has stimulated local economies in areas lacking job opportunities. Advertising revenue from these ads helps broadcast stations meet the needs of their communities by financing local news and public affairs programs.
A ban on sports wagering advertising prevents all responsible adults from receiving information about a legal product in New York, raising significant constitutional issues. There are more effective options available to address issues concerning problem gambling and protecting children. We look forward to working with Congressman Tonko to explore these options.”

This legislation has a long way to go before it becomes law. It may be difficult to get this through a Republican-controlled House of Representatives. Nonetheless, it has triggered a discussion in Washington. We shall be keeping close tabs on this bill.

The legislation introduced by Congressman Tonko can be found here.



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