A bill sponsored in the House by Democratic Representative Paul Tonko would prohibit sportsbook advertising in its entirety.
The Betting on Our Future Act seeks to "prohibit sportsbook advertising on any medium of electronic communication subject to the jurisdiction of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), and for other reasons."
If the bill is passed, sportsbooks will be prohibited from advertising on FCC-regulated platforms such as television, radio, and the internet.
The act is modelled after the Federal Cigarette Labeling and Advertising Act of 1965, which prohibited cigarette advertisements in the United States.
If this act is passed, any infraction will be considered a violation of the Communications Act of 1934.
Whether or if the act passes the House, its proposal underscores the tremendous expansion of sports betting in the United States and the resulting social upheaval.
The New York representative cited the Supreme Court's removal of the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 (PASPA) in 2018, as well as increasing marketing spend from US-facing operators in 2020 and early 2021, as a threat to the American people.
"Sports betting commercials have gotten out of hand. Congress needs to reel in an enterprise with the ability to inflict genuine, widespread harm on the American people".
The senator cited DraftKings' close to $500 million (£415 million/€472 million) sales and marketing investment in 2020, which was around the peak of the industry's marketing blitz.
With the noteworthy exception of Flutter-owned FanDuel, most operators have reduced marketing spending in order to enhance profitability. During 2022, the operator will spend more than $1.0 billion on marketing.
Tonko also cited Pew Research research, which predicted that around one in every five American adults will bet money on sports in 2022.
He also said that businesses are utilising predatory practises to get new customers. He claims that large promotions and terminology like "risk free" or "no sweat bets" represent a risk.
According to the National Problem Gambling Helpline Network, the organisation received 270,000 calls in 2021, 45% higher than the previous year.
The industry has criticised
The bill has been criticised by the advertising industry, which opposes any federal or state curbs on advertising.
“The American Gaming Association (AGA) and our members adamantly oppose any legislation that seeks to ban or limit casino gaming advertising, including for legal sports betting,” said Chris Cylke, senior VP of AGA.
"Responsibility is a cornerstone of the legal gambling industry, and this includes advertising. In truth, there has never been more focus or investment in responsible gaming and problem gambling resources.
“This includes our proactive efforts establishing the Responsible Marketing Codes for Sports Wagering, which mandates responsible gaming message inclusion and imposes restrictions on target audiences, outlets and content.”
Cylke contends that if this proposal becomes law, it will favour criminal offshore activities while undermining state and tribal gambling regulators. Furthermore, the vice president stated that the proposed act violates federal free expression rights.
By fLEXI tEAM