There is no doubt that since its launch, mobile sports betting in New York has been a huge success with record numbers of bets handled and tax revenue generated.
Despite all the positives to have come from the legalization of sports betting online, though, there has also been some backlash.
Too Many Ads
As can be expected with the launch of any new business or industry, advertisements are part of the game. Businesses look to spread awareness of their brand via TV, radio, and print in local newspapers in order to grow their customer base.
If you’ve not seen them so far, you have likely been living under a rock. Everywhere you turn, there are ads promoting the many bonuses being offered by the eight legal and regulated online sportsbooks in New York right now.
For example, DraftKings are offering a free $50 bet plus a $1,000 deposit bonus. Meanwhile, betting titans BetMGM offer a risk-free bet of up to $1,100 as their welcome promotion for new customers. In addition, Caesars Sportsbook online is recruiting new customers by matching new customers’ first deposits up to $1,500.
For some people living in New York, however, these seductive offers are becoming too much. As described by Steven, a recovering gambling addict:
“Every other commercial I see, billboards everywhere I see it, almost every advertisement I see on my phone. It’s just being shoved down people’s throats. It’s like when cigarettes first started advertising this cool thing that everybody was doing — and then they were forced to put a label to say: ‘This can kill you’.”
Fortunately for Steven, he is now in recovery. Thanks to a number of responsible gambling charities, part-funded by the sports betting operators in New York, he managed to save his marriage and turn his life around.
Nonetheless, they are now calling for more restrictions with regards to advertising to stop suggesting how easy it is to gamble and portraying an unrealistic picture of people winning big.
Some Operators Are Cutting Their Marketing Budgets
We have already reported that BetMGM has cut back its spending on marketing due to the high tax rates in New York.
They weren’t the only operator, as Caesars also announced they would be cutting their spending on marketing, too. This wasn’t due to tax rates, though, and was purely based on the fact that they have met their target acquisition goals for their customer base.
The news will be a welcome sigh of relief to those who want more restrictions around advertising with fewer ‘in your face’ pictures and messages being forced upon them. Yet, this move will also be disappointing to those campaigning for increased restrictions on betting ads in that that it is not being done for the right reasons.
More discussions are expected around the subject in the coming months. With a seasonal slowdown on its way, it could possibly encourage some online sports betting companies to pump more money into marketing, as they try to boost profits during a quiet period and potentially take customers from their competitors.
It’s Not Just in New York
Whilst the Big Apple is one of the most vibrant cities in which online sports betting is taking place, it’s not the only location that is being pushed to restrict gambling-related advertisements. Even across the pond in the UK, people are calling for restrictions, with recent legislation banning celebrity appearances in any betting ads due to come later this year.
If a similar call is made in the US, or at least by the New York legislature, it would be seen as a huge victory by the opposition. Nevertheless, it could work out in favor of online sportsbook operators. Without the huge fees paid to celebrities to endorse their activities, marketing costs would go down, meaning operators could afford bigger marketing campaigns.