Regulators in New York unanimously approved a new set of rules for mobile sports betting operators, including bans on advertising, marketing, and promotions targeting underage persons and eliminating the use of “risk-free” terminology across all such activities.
The New York State Gaming Commission (NYSGC) approved the tighter rules — officially, a “proposed rulemaking for sports wagering advertising” — at its meeting last week. They must now go through a 60-day public comment period as part of the approval process.
NYSGC said its proposed rules were derived from the American Gaming Association (AGA) and a handful of advertising regulations from other states, including Arizona, Massachusetts, Ohio, and Virginia.
Advertising Would Be Banned on Campus
According to the letter outlining the proposed changes, NYSGC Chairman Brian O’Dwyer, and likely others on the panel, have voiced concerns at previous meetings “about advertising and marketing of sports wagering to audiences at college and university campuses, where exposure to gambling messaging is likely to be directed to those under the minimum age for wagering … which is 21.”
The rules were divided into eight categories, including one devoted to marketing to underage persons. “A casino sports wagering licensee or sports pool vendor shall not allow, conduct or participate in any advertising, marketing or branding for sports wagering that is aimed at persons under the wagering minimum age,” the proposal states.
Advertising for mobile sports betting cannot be included in various forms of media at colleges or universities in the Empire State. Ads also cannot depict underage persons or have endorsements from such. Stricter limits on the design and inclusion of logos, trademarks, and brand names are also proposed.
Operators are also barred from making “false, deceptive, or misleading statements” in their advertising and promotions. NYSGC specifically mentioned the chances of winning, the number of winners, and the terms or conditions tied to wagering as examples of where operators need to focus.
The regulator also wants operators to stop describing sports betting “as 'free,’ 'cost free’ or 'free of risk’ if the patron needs to incur any loss or risk the patron’s own money to use or withdraw winnings from the wager.”
Another provision bars operators from “[entering] into an agreement with a third party to conduct advertising, marketing, or branding on behalf of, or to the benefit of, such licensee when compensation for such services is dependent on, or related to, the volume of patrons, wagers placed, or the outcome of wagers.”
Operators’ websites must also include responsible gaming messaging and a reminder that the legal age to place an online sports wager in New York is 21.
Another Push for RG Messaging in NY
Responsible gaming messaging has become a higher profile issue in recent years, especially following the launch of mobile sports betting in the Empire State in January 2022.
Last month in New York, Sens. Leroy Comrie (D-St. Albans) and Luis Sepúlveda (D-Bronx) introduced S1550, a bill that would require operators to include warnings about the potentially harmful and addictive effects of gambling in all of their advertising.
S1550 also directed the NYSGC to cooperate with the New York State Office of Addiction Services and Supports (OASAS) to ensure that all advertising “clearly and conspicuously” includes the state’s problem gambling hotline number, aka the New York State HOPEline, which is 1-877-8-HOPENY.
All nine mobile sportsbooks in New York — Bally Bet, BetMGM Sportsbook, BetRivers, Caesars Sportsbook, DraftKings, FanDuel, PointsBet, Resorts World Bet, and WynnBET — currently display the HOPEline number.