WASHINGTON — Legislators and regulators who began the reckless expansion of legal gambling in the United States are now taking action nationwide to increase scrutiny of the gambling industry, especially in relation to advertising that could reach underage gamblers. It’s on the move.
At least three states have responded to a spike in abuses, with crackdowns extending to bettors themselves. transition to bar gambler Threatening or harassing a player after losing a bet.
This more aggressive approach to online gambling is evident in countries around the world, including Australia, Belgium, Canada, the Netherlands and the UK, where authorities have enacted or proposed new online gambling regulations in recent months. , in some cases banning celebrity sponsorships and nearly all advertising.
Nationwide, 33 states The District of Columbia offers legal sports betting, followed by Kentucky, Maine, Nebraska and Florida. That means more than half of Americans live in areas where sports betting is allowed, five years after the Supreme Court overturned laws that banned sports betting from being legalized in most states. do.In summary, Americans are betting legally $220 billion about sports ever since lawsuit in 2018.
In the United States, states such as New York, where mobile sports betting takes place, began adjusting state regulations and laws this winter. generated $16.5 billion Stakes and a staggering $909 million in new tax and licensing revenue It was legal the first year.
However, the explosion of legally recognized sports betting has also raised concerns that it could be harmful. New York responded with a proposal. new rule or Prohibit advertising on college campuses, or The law “targets people under the minimum age” (21 in New York), but has tightened its crackdown in Ohio.
“The public is waking up to the need to intervene in less than a decade, and minors will bear the brunt of this negative impact in particular,” said Matt Schuler, executive director of the Ohio Casino Commission. and said he was very sorry. The content of advertising in his state, where the bet began this year. “The industry will never police itself.”
According to BIA Advisory Services, an industry data aggregator, an estimated $1.8 billion was spent on online gambling advertising in rural U.S. markets last year, a nearly 70% increase in just one year, with some state regulators and many contributed to the regulatory awareness of Sports Audience — Airwaves are oversaturated with sports betting ads.
in the last 6 months, Maryland, maine, Massachusetts, Ohio and Connecticut We have enacted or proposed new rules related to sports betting, some of which are currently in force or awaiting final approval. Measures vary from state to state, but most are aimed at preventing deceptive marketing and promotions aimed at underage bettors.
Mine proposed rule This would be the most restrictive policy in the country, allowing TV ads for sports betting to be shown only during live matches. It also bans ads that offer gambling bonuses and prohibits the use of “cartoon characters, professional and Olympic athletes, celebrities and entertainers” in ads.
Massachusetts last month officially banned Prohibited advertising on college campus marketing or targeting minors. Earlier this month, the company also joined New York state in a move to ban sports betting marketing activities. receive commission payments We deliver bets placed by patrons to sports betting platforms based on concerns that these arrangements may foster gambling problems.
New York State Gambling Commission Chairman Brian O’Dwyer said sports betting in the state is generating windfall tax revenue. But he added, “We need to make sure we don’t trick people, promote problem gambling, or promote underage gambling.”
Maryland and Connecticut are separately moving to ban gambling companies from entering into agreements with public universities to pay schools to help market sports betting platforms.
Connecticut Rep. Amy Mollin Bello, D-Wethersfield, said she “thinks it’s outrageous” about the agreements that certain gambling companies have struck with eight universities across the country. Her bill to ban the trade passed 142-0 this month.
Morin Bello and O’Dwyer said last year’s New York Times report about the explosion of sports betting in the United States, including marketing on college campuses, sparked the regulatory move.
The Ohio Casino Commission has fined sports betting companies more than $800,000 since January. . Offenders also included DraftKings, one of the most prominent gambling platforms, which illegally claimed that gamblers could bet “for free” and admitted it was mailed in error. 2,582 ads It encouraged state residents under the legal gaming age of 21 to download a mobile app and claim $200 in free wagering.
Penn Entertainment, another leading sports betting company operating under the Barstool brand, fined separately in February.At the end of last year, on a bar stool on the campus of the University of Toledo hosted college football A show that promoted the company’s mobile sports betting application, despite the ban on advertising targeting people under the age of 21.
Both companies declined to comment.
Mr Schuler said: execution The result is even greater advertiser compliance. But he said he still had concerns, including gambling companies. logo is pasted He called the act “totally offensive,” considering the players on the Columbus, Ohio-based professional soccer team’s jerseys are heroes to many young people. “Their greed outweighs any common sense that should be adopted when it comes to caution against harming minors,” he said, noting that the power to ban gambling sponsors from appearing in jerseys is now self-serving. Added that it is not in minutes.
The surge in abuse targeting college and professional athletes has caught the attention of coaches and the players themselves. Anthony Grant, coach of the University of Dayton men’s basketball team, said: Condemn verbal and online attacks In January, just days after Ohio legalized sports betting, angry gamblers denounced the players.
At a public hearing in Illinois last month, Josh Whitman, director of physical education at the state’s flagship university, urged lawmakers: continue to ban State sportsbooks no longer accept bets on in-state college sports. He submitted to legislators a letter signed by many representatives of state universities. 5 pages Numerous crude and sometimes racist remarks made against players and teams online.
NBA’s Toronto Raptors forward Chris Boucher spoke on a podcast in March about one of the hateful messages he received from a bettor. “I picked the wrong slave today,” the person wrote to Mr. Boucher on social media after losing the bet.
“In its purest form, fans can act as if a player is playing to bet,” said David Foster, the association’s deputy general counsel, who represents NBA players. “The players feel insulted,” he said. “When it crosses the line into harassment and intimidation, it gets even worse.”
Changes to laws and regulations are proposed or approved, although the specific wording may vary. Ohio, west virginia and Massachusetts This year, state officials will broadly allow bans on gambling practices such as: threaten Or harass an athlete.
The industry supports the proposal, saying it detests such behavior against athletes.
“There’s absolutely no room for that,” said Casey Clark, senior vice president of the Gaming Association of America. member This includes most major casino companies, as well as FanDuel and DraftKings. “And I think that anyone whose reaction to losing a bet is that extreme has a gambling problem and needs to seek help.”
The gambling industry and professional sports leagues have announced initiatives to combat harmful practices and prevent further enforcement of rules.
For that, revision Supports banning the term “risk-free” betting and opposes the American Gaming Association’s Responsible Marketing Code, which prohibits marketing partnerships with universities. Professional sports leagues and several television networks have joined to create what they call it. Responsible Sports Betting Advertising Coalition“Sports betting should only be marketed to adults of legal gambling age.”
Clark said the industry has taken steps to address emerging issues ahead of regulators, reflecting its commitment to “providing the right kind of consumer protection to enable a sustainable legal sports betting market.” said it had taken action.“
Brian Doula-Shawol, a lobbyist representing groups such as the National Gambling Problem Council, said the move to tighten rules was a result of state officials enacting laws to legalize sports betting in so many states since 2018. He said it was a response to sloppy work.
“These were discussions that should have taken place before legalization,” she said.
Ms Doula Shawol believes the move abroad by regulators could, in some cases, help the U.S. sports betting industry fail to move quickly to avoid problems arising in countries where sports betting has long been legal. It’s a reflection of what happens next, he added. .
Australia is ready Banning the use of credit cards for online gambling, which currently accounts for about 20% of bets. Belgium and the Netherlandswill ban gambling advertisements on television, radio, newspapers and public spaces starting this summer.
Frérick Althoff, spokesman for the Dutch Minister of Legal Protection, said: “If you are running untargeted advertising, such as billboards or TV commercials, no one will see it, including young people and those with gambling problems. You can’t control what.”
Canada’s largest province, Ontario, proposed last month It banned the use of athletes and celebrities in advertising, concluding that “the potential harmful impact on the most vulnerable population, minors, remains high.”And in the UK, the government agency that oversees online gambling published a long-awaited study Last month, it concluded that “change is needed now” because “gambling has the risk of becoming a clinical addiction” and proposed a “financial risk check” for bettors who lost $160 or more in a month. He supported the move to remove gambling logos from the table. player shirt.
Clark of the American Gambling Association said the gambling industry would object if some of these moves were proposed in the United States, similar to the pending advertising restrictions on sports betting in Maine. consider it excessive.
“We’ve always wanted to learn from the more mature markets,” he said, adding that “we’re not in favor of restricting when legal and regulated businesses can be sold.”