New York Rep. Paul Tonko introduced a bill that could reshape the US sports betting landscape for the foreseeable future.
Tonko’s bill, the Betting on our Future Act, would ban all sports betting advertisements on any medium in the jurisdiction of the FCC including TV, radio and the internet.
“Sports betting advertisements are out of control. Congress needs to reel in an industry with the power to inflict real, widespread harm on the American people,” Tonko wrote.
Is a federal ban on US sports betting ads possible?
According to a fact sheet distributed by Tonko, he writes:
“Sports betting companies are using a variety of predatory tactics, such as massive promotions and “risk-free” or “no sweat” bets to gain and retain new customers.”
Tonko’s sheet named DraftKings and how the company spent $900 million on sales and marketing between 2020-2021.
The document also cites statistics from the International Center for Youth Gambling Problems & High-Risk Behaviors, which says: “Children and young people are the fastest-growing demographic of gamblers. Between 60-80% of high school students report that they have gambled for money.”
Operators and states already addressing issues with ad terms
Professional sports leagues and several sportsbooks have begun to distance themselves from the term “risk-free.” Recently, the NBA banned sports books from using the phrase “risk-free” in advertising on the league and team-controlled platforms.
Some operators have dropped the term altogether in response to concerns raised by responsible gambling advocates. Operators dropping the phrase include:
However, it should be noted sportsbooks are not ditching the action behind “risk-free” bets. They are simply changing the phrase. FanDuel will no longer use the term “risk-free.” It will, however, use the phrase “sweat-free.”
On a state level, Ohio regulators have banned the usage of the phrase in all advertising in the state. Massachusetts regulators have said they plan on instituting similar laws.
Even if Tonko’s bill fails, conversations are beginning. This federal bill might be the wake-up call sports betting operators need to reinvent how they advertise and market their products.