New York Lawmakers Want Sports Betting Ads to Warn of Potential Harm

The passage of a New York Senate bill is part of the political response to sports betting-related advertising concerns that have troubled lawmakers and regulators over the past two years.

Geoff Zochodne - Senior News Analyst at Covers.com
Geoff Zochodne • Senior News Analyst
May 31, 2024 • 14:43 ET • 2 min read
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Every sports betting advertisement in New York may soon have to deliver words of warning along with any words of encouragement.

The New York State Senate passed Senate Bill 1550 on Thursday by a 57-0 vote, giving its seal of approval to a measure that will require all gambling and sports betting ads to include disclaimers about the "potential harmful and addictive effects" of wagering.

S1550 would require the New York State Gaming Commission to cooperate with the commissioner of the Office of Addiction Services and Supports to ensure all gambling ads "clearly and conspicuously state a problem gambling hotline number.”

Moreover, the gaming commission must make certain information and technical support available on its website, including ad guidelines for New York sports betting. S1550, sponsored by Democratic Sen. Leroy Comrie, would take effect 60 days after it becomes law, if it indeed becomes law.

Everyone in agreement?

That may not take too long. The New York Senate’s website indicated the bill was returned to the other chamber of the legislature, the Assembly. However, an identical Assembly bill that passed that chamber earlier this year was substituted for S1550 before the Senate approved it, which means identical legislation has already cleared both houses and could soon be on its way to the governor's desk.

The passage of S1550 (which was introduced in January 2023) is part of the political response to sports betting-related advertising concerns that have troubled lawmakers and regulators over the past two years. While those concerns have been addressed somewhat via legislation and regulation, new worries have arisen, such as whether the industry is paying enough in tax or if wagering on college player props is proper. 

“In New York State, gambling can be found everywhere from physical casinos to a multitude of online websites and apps,” Comrie’s sponsor note on the bill says. “The advent of the internet has made gambling more accessible through online betting platforms. As gambling becomes more easily accessed by more people, the number of lives negatively affected by gambling has also increased. This can lead to serious consequences for both the gambler and their family.”

New York has become the largest competitive market for online legal sports betting in the U.S. since it launched in January 2022. 

But despite easier access, and the “substantial amounts” spent by the legal sports betting industry on advertising, New York state is investing just $1 million a year for public service announcements about problem gambling, Comrie’s note says. 

“In the unprecedented growth of gambling, where it is easy to place bets with PayPal, credit cards, bitcoin, or money-transfer apps; it is also important as a state to be proactive identifying and preventing potential problems of gambling,” it adds. 

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