American Gaming Association Opposes Legislation Prohibiting Sportsbook Advertising

The nation’s premier gaming industry trade association has expressed vehement opposition to a proposed US Congressman’s bill to restrict sports betting advertising on television, radio and the internet.

A screenshot from a DraftKings commercial featuring comedian Kevin Hart which aired during Sunday’s Super Bowl. The American Gaming Association (AGA) has expressed vehement opposition to a bill filed last week by US Representative Paul Tonko, which would prohibit sportsbooks from advertising on television, radio, or the internet. (Image: DraftKings/YouTube)

In a statement to, American Gaming Association (AGA) Vice President for Government Relations Chris Cylke expressed that the bill, introduced by US Congressman Paul Tonko, D-N.Y., could potentially lead to undesirable outcomes if it is enforced.

“Any such effort only serves to reduce awareness of legal options to the detriment of customers and communities, while profiting illegal offshore operators,” Cylke said. “The proposed legislation would violate well-established freedom of speech protections and undermine the expertise of more than 5,000 state and tribal gaming regulators across the country.”

Tonko submitted HR 967 on Thursday, February 9, arguing that sportsbooks that spend billions of dollars to target Americans through the airwaves and online present a risk to young people easily influenced by persuasive messages and to individuals with a higher vulnerability to addictive behaviors. He based the bill off of legislation that prohibited cigarette makers from airing commercials more than half a century ago.

A draft version of the bill can be found here.

HR 967 has been referred to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, which Tonko serves on as a member. No hearings have been arranged for Tonko’s bill.

AGA: Gaming Industry Self-Regulates

Cylke noted that the AGA respects Tonko’s interest in responsible gaming and that the association will continue to make that a priority within the industry.

“Responsibility is a pillar of the legal gaming industry, and this applies to advertising as well,” Cylke said. “In fact, never before has more attention been devoted to responsible gaming and problem gambling resources. This includes our proactive efforts to establish the Responsible Marketing Code for Sports Wagering, which mandates the inclusion of responsible gaming messages and imposes restrictions on target audiences, outlets and content.”

A compliance review board manages the code. The panel is currently led by Becky Harris