Connecticut Could Limit Gambling Advertisements

Written By Derek Helling on February 23, 2023
Connecticut gambling funding sources advertisements bill

A new bill in the Connecticut legislature wouldn’t go as far as some other proposals in terms of restricting gambling advertising, but it could affect the Connecticut gambling industry nonetheless if it becomes law. Gamblers might also have to adjust their habits in that case, too.

The bill contains new restrictions on what advertisements for gambling opportunities can state. Additionally, it would limit the number of different ways people can fund their gaming bankrolls.

Connecticut gambling ads could be in line for a makeover

SB 971, which is currently in committee, would amend the state’s current gambling statute in a couple of pivotal ways.

Of perhaps greatest importance, the bill adds new language governing how licensed gambling companies can advertise themselves.

“No advertisement of online casino gaming, online sports wagering or retail sports wagering may…offer or advertise for a financial entitlement to participate in such gaming or wagering.”

Essentially, such ads could not include any promise of a bonus bet, an amount of site credit, or a deposit bonus. Such offers are common in gambling in the United States.

To be clear, it doesn’t mean Connecticut online casinos and online sportsbooks couldn’t offer such incentives to customers. They just couldn’t advertise them. As that’s essentially the point of such offers, though, it would effectively eradicate them.

This could mean a drastic change for online gambling companies in their advertising approaches. New ads could instead focus on promoting new app features, and slot titles. The bill could implement another change that gambling companies might need to adjust to as well.

New restrictions on funding sources included in bill

The bill also introduces a new tenet regarding the payment forms that people can use to fund their gambling activity.

“Limit a person to the use of only one debit card or only one credit card for an account and only permit the use of such a card when such person is the sole account holder of such card.”

Effectively, that would increase the difficulty of verifying payment sources for gambling companies in Connecticut. Moreover, it could also decrease the deposit and withdrawal options that gamblers can use.

While both of these facets of the bill seem to make gambling more difficult in Connecticut, it’s possible to make legitimate arguments supporting both of them as far as limiting harm for people with pathological gambling issues and preventing money laundering go.

At the same time, the legal structure of gambling in Connecticut could limit its effectiveness in that regard. The state isn’t the final authority on all gaming happening within its borders.

Tribal casinos are another matter

Both of Connecticut’s brick-and-mortar casinos operate on the sovereign territory of the tribal authorities that own them. For that reason, Connecticut law does not govern their conduct. Rather, the gaming compacts between them, Connecticut, and the US government fill that role.

At the same time, the online casino and sportsbook products that Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun offer are a partnership with the state. Thus, the tenets of this bill would apply to those segments of their business should this bill become law.

That’s why the bill makes no mention of physical casino gaming in the advertising restrictions. The compacts govern that element of gambling in Connecticut. Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun would still be free to run any ads that their compacts allow for their on-site poker, slots, and table games.

It’s unclear whether Connecticut would seek to amend those compacts to mirror these provisions in the future. That’s several steps down the road and a moot point if this bill fails to gain approval in the Connecticut assembly.

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Derek Helling

Derek Helling is the assistant managing editor of PlayUSA. Helling focuses on breaking news, including legislation and litigation in the gaming industry. He enjoys reading hundreds of pages of a gambling bill or lawsuit for his audience. Helling completed his journalism degree at the University of Iowa.

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