A little more than a year after New York launched online sports betting and coinciding with Problem Gambling Awareness Month, the state is making changes to the way New York sportsbooks can advertise to consumers.
New York quickly became the biggest sports betting market in the United States following its much-ballyhooed entry into the market in January of 2022. Online sportsbooks have set national records for total handle and adjusted gross revenue from gaming. Since it launched its market on Jan. 8, 2022, New York has reported more than $18 billion in total handle from online sports betting and in excess of $1.4 billion in revenue.
Sports betting operators and large affiliates assert that advertising is critical to the industry; otherwise, bad actors like illegal offshore betting operators will fill the void. Betting with offshore sportsbooks is dangerous for consumers, who have no protection from fraud.
New New York Sportsbook Advertising Rules Ban Use of “Free” in Ads, Prohibit Revenue Sharing with Affiliates
Last month, the New York Gaming Commission passed stricter rules for advertising by sports betting operators and affiliate marketers in the industry. The language states that “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 minimum age.”
The NYGC has expressed a desire to curb the exposure of sports betting to people under the age of 21, the legal age in the state to register and use a sports betting app.
Additional regulatory language bars sports betting operators from advertising on a platform “where there is a reasonably foreseeable percentage of the composition of the audience that is persons under the minimum wagering age.” Also, there will be a ban on advertising sports betting on college campuses in any form.
The new rules will not go into effect for 60 days, following time for public comment.
Other changes include regulations targeted at affiliates (New York Sports Day is owned by Catena Media, one such affiliate). Earlier this year, some affiliates and operators were chastised for the use of terms such as “free” or “free of risk” when discussing bets in the state. That language will be disallowed.
The way that sportsbooks pay affiliates is also coming under scrutiny in New York. The NYGC has approved regulations that will ban the “revenue sharing” payment model between sportsbooks and affiliates. In those arrangements, an affiliate is paid a higher fee the more a customer bets.
A few elected officials are also taking note of the issue. Two New York Senators: Leroy Comrie and Luis R. Sepúlveda, have introduced a bill that would require the NYGC to mandate that all sports betting advertisements include the state’s problem gambling hotline number (1-877-8-HOPENY).
New York Lawsuit Cites “Deceptive” Language in Sportsbook Advertising
Though the NYGC has approved regulations to ban the use of phrases like “free” and “risk-free,” a class action lawsuit by a New York consumer has gone forward.
The lawsuit filed by Lachae Vickers against Caesars Sportsbook New York claims the plaintiff was deceived by the defendant’s promise in advertising of a “free bet” or “risk-free bet” in the amount of $1,000 all the way up to $5,000.
The plaintiff alleges that they would never have registered and wagered with Caesars if the deceptive language was not used in advertising.
Hovering over the changes in New York is a national discussion about sports betting advertising. In February, U.S. Congressman Paul Tonko, who represents the 20th congressional district in New York, introduced a bill that would ban all advertising of sports betting in the United States. While that bill has not been debated and is not near a vote in the House, it has brought the issue to the forefront. Sports betting industry representatives have reportedly met with Tonko to discuss his concerns.
Problem Gambling Resources for New York Bettors
March is Problem Gambling Awareness Month. The following resources are available to bettors in the state:
- Voluntary Self-Exclusion: bettors who think they have a gambling problem can complete a form and be excluded from placing wagers at all New York State gaming facilities, including casinos, horse racing, off-track betting, video lottery gaming, and interactive fantasy sports activities. The self-exclusion form can be downloaded here.
- 24-Hour Problem Gambling Helpline: 1-877-846-7369
- HOPEline Services: Simply text HOPENY (467369) in New York to receive immediate help with a potential gambling problem or addiction. This service is free and available 24/7.
- New York Problem Gambling Resource Centers: Funded by the New York State Office of Addiction Services and Supports, the PGRC are programs designed by the specialists at the New York Council on Problem Gambling. Its primary mission is to increase public awareness about problem gambling and introduce people who have been impacted by problem gambling to critical resources to help them improve their situation.
- New York Council on Problem Gambling: The NYCPG website is a valuable resource for help if you think you may have a problem with how you gamble. According to the website, the council is “dedicated to increasing public awareness about problem and disordered gambling and advocating for support services and treatment for persons adversely affected by problem gambling.”
- NY State Responsible Gaming Website: This official website from the State of New York has numerous resources to assist gamblers. People who think a loved one may have a problem with their gambling. Take a quiz to see if you or someone you know has a gambling problem, locate Prevention & Treatment Resources, or take an assessment to evaluate your gambling habits to identify potential problems.