Concerns Mount Over Sports Betting Ads

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Concerns Mount Over Sports Betting Ads

Author: American Gambler Staff | Publish Date: September 11, 2023 | Last Updated: September 15, 2023

State gaming regulators across the US have persisted in their concerns about sports betting advertising, especially those slated to launch the activity this year.

The popularity of betting apps continues to soar, and the number of people watching sports betting ads has risen by 25% from January 1 to August 15 over the same period last year, according to a new iSpot ad-tracking report as top operators push sports betting promos. Opponents often note this advertising surge when arguing the issue with state regulators and lawmakers.  

Regulators Eye Sports Betting Ads Prior to NFL Season

During last Wednesday’s North American Gaming Regulators Association meeting, the best practices in US sports betting advertising were discussed after Maine Gaming Control Unit executive director Milton Champion asked for help as his state prepares to launch sports betting later this year. “What we’re seeing right now is a lot of sports wagering advertising,” said Champion. “There’s the question of if it’s legal to start before rules are adopted.”

As the NFL regular season approaches, federal regulators are also starting to limit the boundaries on sports betting marketing. Sports betting ads with promotional offers will continue to increase as operators seek to acquire new customers. Still, the ads may be less aggressive than in the past under the new American Gaming Association marketing standards recently introduced.

Potential Changes Come to Sports Betting Ads

New Jersey saw legislation introduced recently by Senator Joseph Cryan aimed at sports betting and casino ads. S4021 targets fraudulent advertisements that appeal to underage people or target people on self-exclusion lists to control their gambling. Maine Governor Janet Mills was uncompromising on limiting sports betting ads when signing legislation to legalize it last year but says regional ads have appeared in Maine as advertising rules are still waiting for approval.

A recent proposal by US House member Paul Tonko of New York was introduced to restrict sports betting ads on FCC-regulated outlets. He hopes lawmakers will act on the bill “sooner rather than later.” Tonko, who will seek his ninth term this fall, added, “We’ve seen what’s happened. If we give it another five years, that’s way too long.”

The Future of Sports Betting Advertisements

A few changes in the US sports betting landscape will have an effect on the upcoming NFL season as the two top providers, DraftKings and FanDuel, have resumed their marketing barrage, and new providers, like ESPN Bet and Fanatics, hope to secure a significant share of the market with their enormous marketing budgets. New opportunities are also available for sportsbooks after Fox Bet decided to shut down operations.

There’s still the question of how the launch of ESPN Bets will affect the ESPN network’s sports betting advertising, a preferred route for many online sportsbooks, including Caesars and BetMGM. However, the most popular destination for sports betting ads is non-sports programming, up 25.9% from the same January 1 to August 15 period last year. 

“To optimize TV ad placements, advertisers across industries should gain a comprehensive understanding of their audiences' viewing habits beyond premium programs and dayparts,” reads the iSpot report.

American Gambler Staff