Published: March 22, 2024

Sports Betting Marketing Facing New Restrictions Under Proposed Legislation

Proposed federal legislation would place limits on the ways U.S. sports betting companies market and interact with their customers. U.S. Rep. Paul Tonko (D-NY) says his SAFE Bet Act is needed in a new era of high-tech sports betting.


The SAFE (Supporting Affordability and Fairness With Every) Bet Act would eliminate sportsbook advertising during live sporting events and ban advertising designed to induce gambling, such as ads that hype bonus bets and odds boosts.


Rep. Tonko introduced the legislation just hours before the tip-off of the NCAA basketball tournament.


The New York lawmaker says the sports betting industry has been operating since 2018 in "a Wild West, largely unregulated environment.”


Just as in the tobacco industry when it was determined that that industry was posing a public health situation, we have now displaced Joe Camel with celebrity spokespeople and, yes, free product,” Tonko said.


Joining Rep. Tonko at a news conference were representatives of Northeastern’s Public Health Advocacy Institute, led by law professor Richard Daynard.


"We are not talking about an activity. We’re not talking about gambling. This is not an attack on gambling,” said Daynard, while referring to the artificial intelligence in the betting programs of many companies. "Whatever one thinks about gambling as it was known five years ago, before the gates opened to online sports betting, this is a different product.”


Since the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) in May 2018, 38 states and the District of Columbia now offer some form of legal sports betting.


Given that ruling, there are questions as to the legality of Tonko’s proposal. That’s because the Supreme Court ruled sports betting is essentially a states’ rights issue.




© Public Gaming Research Institute. All rights reserved.