Online Sports Betting in New York Needs Tougher Advertising Regulations


Just over a month ago, New York State officially launched online sports betting, making it more than the 20th state to do so since the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in 2018 in Murphy vs. NCAA. Since then, sports betting operators have launched a marketing blitz in New York encompassing most forms of mainstream and online media. Yet beyond a few general rules for disclosing a problem gambling hotline, the New York State Gaming Commission has done very little to regulate advertising and promotion in this space.

While online sports betting may be here to stay, the New York State Gaming Commission’s half-hearted efforts to regulate sports betting advertising need to change in at least four relevant ways.

First, the New York State Gaming Commission needs stricter rules to limit the hours that sports betting companies advertise on television to reduce inadvertent targeting of minors. Currently, Federal Trade Commission regulations state that liquor companies should limit their advertising to shows where 70% or more of viewers are over the age of 21. Perhaps an even stricter rule would make sense when it comes to the new and emerging world of sports betting.

Second, the New York State Gaming Commission should prohibit professional sports leagues from prominently displaying sports betting advertisements on the main landing page of their website, a place regularly visited by young fans. Currently, a visit to the website highlights sports betting advertisements from at least one particular gambling provider. Regardless of whether these banner ads are specifically sold to sports betting companies or appear naturally via an algorithm, the symbolic nature of a sports betting company being the #1 promoter of a sports league is somewhat troubling, if not downright inappropriate.

Third, while the New York State Gaming Commission rightly requires sports betting operators to include gambling addiction support information on their Twitter pages and in online advertising, the regulations do not is not broad enough in terms of who was required to include such language. For example, while sports betting companies appear to be following this requirement exactly as intended, Action Network – a company that has purchased a barrage of sponsored ads on Twitter to promote various online gambling operators in New York – does not appear to include a gambling addiction. hotline in his promoted Twitter posts. Similarly, Darren Rovell, who was hired by Action Network at least in part based on his incredible 2 million Twitter followers, regularly touts sports betting on his Twitter account without any warnings about gambling addiction. .

Finally, given the increasing incorporation of a sports betting theme into many televised game shows, the New York State Gaming Commission should require that for any telecast of a sporting event that includes more of one de minimis amount of sports betting content, the underlying team or league must ensure that a secondary live broadcast is made available, at no additional cost, which does not include any gambling talk. With the advent of over-the-top streaming options, it should be reasonable to ask fans to provide an alternative, family-friendly live stream. It might even help some sports teams and leagues grow their next-gen fan base.


Marc Edelman ([email protected]) is a professor of law at the Zicklin School of Business at Baruch College, director of sports ethics at the Robert Zicklin Center on Corporate Integrity, and founder of Edelman’s Law. He is the author of “A short treatise on the sports game” and “Regulation of sports betting.


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