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New York Senate Approves Bill to Control Sportsbook Ads

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In response to rising concerns about the impact of sportsbook ads on public health, lawmakers have taken significant action.

The New York State Senate has passed Senate Bill 1550 unanimously, requiring gambling and sports betting ads to include warnings about their addictive nature and potential harm. The bill also mandates that these ads display the number for the New York state problem gambling hotline. This legislative move comes amidst growing worries from lawmakers and regulators about the public health risks associated with widespread sportsbook advertisement campaigns. The bill was approved with 57 votes in favor and none against. If signed into law by Governor Kathy Hochul, it will become effective 60 days after signing, as reported by Covers.

Senator Comrie’s Initiative

Democratic Senator Leroy Comrie sponsored this legislation to address the increased access to online-based gambling platforms, which has led to more cases of gambling-related problems. He emphasized the ease of placing bets today through modern payment systems like PayPal, credit cards, or cryptocurrencies. The senator argued that active steps should be taken to detect and prevent addiction before it occurs.

New York’s Gambling Market

In January 2022, New York took a significant step in the realm of gambling by legalizing sports betting. This move transformed the state into the largest market for internet-based sports betting in the United States, offering residents and visitors a new way to engage with their favorite sports. The legalization aimed to boost state revenue through taxes and fees collected from the betting industry, while also ensuring that the activity was regulated and safe for consumers.Despite the significant revenue generated from this sector, only $1 million is allocated annually for public service announcements about problem gambling.  The passage of SB 1550 reflects broader efforts across various levels to mitigate the adverse effects of gambling activities.

These efforts are underscored by the urgency of the legislative session, which ends on June 6. Alongside SB 1550, other gambling-related bills are being considered. These include measures to allocate a portion of sports betting tax revenue to problem gambling treatment programs and youth sports, and a bill to raise the minimum age for fantasy sports participation from 18 to 21.

Federal Action and Legal Cases

On a federal level, similar initiatives are evident, such as Paul Tonko’s SAFE Bet Act, which seeks better fiscal controls and bans live event commercials related to sportsbooks. Additionally, legal actions have been taken against DraftKings by Samantha Guery, who sued them federally over claims that their advertisements misled customers. She argued that the marketing claims of “risk-free” betting were dishonest. Other states have banned this practice, although it has not yet happened in New York.

An estimated 7 million people in the U.S. have a gambling problem and/or gambling addiction • 1 in 5 individuals with a gambling addiction will attempt suicide, the highest of any mental health disorder

Public Health and Gambling Reform

The growing concern over public health has driven these legislative actions. The New York State Senate’s unanimous passage of SB 1550 is a critical step in addressing the potential harms of gambling and sports betting ads. As lawmakers continue to consider various bills and measures, the focus remains on protecting individuals from the risks associated with gambling.

About Responsible Gambling

Responsible gambling is a crucial aspect of the gaming industry, emphasizing the need for measures to prevent and address gambling addiction. According to a study by the National Center for Responsible Gambling (NCRG), approximately 1% of the U.S. adult population struggles with gambling addiction. Another study published in the Journal of Gambling Studies highlights that implementing self-exclusion programs, which allow individuals to voluntarily ban themselves from gambling activities, significantly reduces problem gambling behaviors. Additionally, research from the Australian Gambling Research Centre (AGRC) found that providing clear information about the risks of gambling and promoting responsible gambling messages can effectively mitigate the harms associated with gambling. These studies underscore the importance of continuous efforts to promote responsible gambling practices to protect individuals and communities from the adverse effects of gambling.

70% of teenagers reported seeing gambling advertisements on social media

Gambling advertisements have a profound influence on youth, raising concerns about their potential impact on developing minds. A study published in the journal Addiction Research & Theory found that exposure to gambling ads significantly increases the likelihood of adolescents engaging in gambling activities. Another research conducted by the University of Bristol revealed that 70% of teenagers reported seeing gambling advertisements on social media, with many feeling that these ads normalize gambling as a harmless and exciting activity. Additionally, a report by the Gambling Commission in the UK indicated that young people who are frequently exposed to gambling promotions are more likely to develop positive attitudes towards gambling, leading to higher risks of developing problem gambling behaviors later in life. These findings highlight the urgent need for stricter regulations on gambling advertisements to protect young people from potential harm.


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