US House Introduces Bill to Ban Sports Betting Ads
The Betting on Our Future Act seeks to ban sportsbook advertising on mediums under the jurisdiction of the Federal Communications Commission.
The US House of Representatives has introduced a bill that seeks to ban sportsbook advertising on all mediums that fall under the jurisdiction of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), including television, radio and the internet. The proposed legislation, titled The Betting on Our Future Act, is modeled after the Federal Cigarette Labeling and Advertising Act, which banned tobacco advertising in the US in 1965. If passed, any violation of the ban would be considered a violation of the Communications Act of 1934.
The bill's sponsor, Democratic Representative Paul Tonko, highlighted the rapid growth of sports betting across the US and the increased marketing spend by US-facing operators during 2020 and early 2021 as representing a danger to the American people. He argued that companies are using predatory tactics to entice new business, including large promotions and verbiage such as "risk-free" or "no-sweat bets." Tonko cited a Pew Research poll that found around one in five American adults bet money on sports in 2022.
The bill has faced criticism from the industry, which opposes any federal or state restrictions on advertising. Chris Cylke, Senior VP of the American Gaming Association (AGA), argued that the proposed legislation would benefit illegal offshore operations and undermine state and tribal gaming regulators. Cylke said that the legal gaming industry had never invested more resources in responsible gaming and problem gambling resources and that the proposed legislation violated federal free speech protections.
It remains to be seen whether the bill will progress beyond the House. However, its proposal highlights the social change that has resulted from the rapid growth of sports betting across the US. While the industry opposes the ban, the bill reflects concerns about the impact of advertising on vulnerable individuals and the need for responsible gambling practices.