Advertising for online sports wagering and brick-and-mortar casino sports books has become an important source of revenue for local stations. At the present time, NY regulations regarding sports wagering require that advertising not be directed at people under 21 years of age. There can be no wagering on youth sports and sports involving colleges in New York. Advertising cannot include players, coaches, or any “sports pool” participants. Advertisements may not be false or misleading. Most importantly, sports gaming advertising must include a reference to the problem gambling hotline (877 HOPE NY).
The new proposed rules are more specific with respect to advertising directed at people under 21. Of particular note is a proposed audience placement rule which states:
“Composition of audience. Sports wagering advertising and marketing shall not be placed in broadcast, cable, radio, print or digital communications where the reasonably foreseeable percentage of the composition of the audience that is a person under the wagering minimum age… is greater than the percentage of the population in the State that is under such age, such population as measured by the most recent completed [sic] decennial census.”
We have concerns with this approach. As drafted, it would require that sports betting advertising could only be placed in programs that have a significant audience that is over 21. We are in the process of obtaining up-to-date census data. Some data indicates that 71% of New Yorkers are over 21 years of age. Thus, the question is whether certain TV programs or radio formats have an audience where 71% of that audience is 21 years of age or older. This could exclude a variety of radio formats and sports programs on TV. As we noted when discussing cannabis restrictions, many stations do not have access to rating services with respect to specific programs, especially in small markets. Also, the proposed regulations will ban all sports wagering advertising on all college media outlets, including radio and TV stations.
We are in the process of examining the proposed regulations and will be filing documents with the New York State Gaming Commission. This is an important issue. While online sports betting advertising declined this year, it remains an important source of revenue. Stay tuned as this issue is just beginning.
You can see the current sports wagering advertising rules here.
You can see the New York Gaming Commission’s proposed sports wagering advertising rules here.