Bill Filed in NY to Stop ‘Predatory’ Sportsbook Language

Nathan Bennett
Nathan Bennett
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Statue of Liberty with NYC in background

A new bill submitted in New York would limit language betting operators can use to advertise bonuses in the state. [Image:]

New York sports betting bill

A New York state Senator wants his state to implement regulations for “predatory” sportsbook bonuses via new legislation.

restriction on the language used to advertise

Senator Pete Harckham (D-South Salem) is the man heading the effort, introducing Senate Bill S9605 last week. The bill calls for restriction on the language used to advertise “risk-free” bets, “profit boosts,” and other terms that downplay the risk factor of gambling.

If passed, it would open a new section in the Big Apple’s racing, pari-mutuel wagering and breeding law and require the New York State Gaming Commission (NYSGC) to outline more exclusive verbiage.

Evidence of harmful language

Harckham referenced findings from a series of articles in The New York Times on the sports betting industry in his proposal. His focus centered on the manners that sportsbooks go about acquiring and retaining customers.

fall susceptible to gambling addiction that could have otherwise been avoided”

“The mobile sports betting industry is utilizing targeted advertising that is personally tailored to lure in new customers from right within their homes,” Harckham said. “This means that following legal sports betting in New York State, multitudes of people who were not formerly presented with these predatory practices will fall susceptible to gambling addiction that could have otherwise been avoided.”

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Other countries already have restrictions on how betting operators advertise their services, which Harckham pointed to in his argument. In Great Britain, companies are limited in how they can display “free bet” opportunities.

In Ontario, Canada, operators are required to omit welcome bonuses in their advertising. Companies that fail to abstain from flashing these offers could face harsh penalties. 

Harckham is not proposing any specific language adjustments and is leaving that for the NYSGC to decide. Specifically, he wants the commission to “promulgate rules and regulations regarding predatory sportsbook bonuses in mobile sports betting.”

New York gambling landscape

States across America have shown commitment to furthering anti-problem gambling efforts, whether that be rehabilitation centers, increased problem gambling awareness, or adding extra resources to help those suffering from addiction. 

Harckham’s bill is not attempting to increase scrutiny over sportsbooks, but is another tool to help ease the problems that can come from gambling.

these predatory practices are triggering a spike in gambling addiction” 

“Industry officials have cited their voluntary support for anti-addiction resources as proof that they can be trusted to operate without stricter government rules, but more safeguards must be put in place as this reporting has illustrated these predatory practices are triggering a spike in gambling addiction,” Harckham said.

If the bill makes it through the state legislature, it would need to be signed by Governor Kathy Hochul, who last week vetoed a bill that would have created a problem gambling advisory committee.

New York sports betting launched on January 8. It quickly became the epicenter for sports gambling and produced record-breaking totals with little effort.

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As of November 27, New York sportsbooks reported $14.6bn in total handle across mobile apps and $1.2bn in gross revenue.

New York’s legislative session resumes on January 4, 2023.

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