February 13, 2023

Could this have been the last Superbowl with gambling ads? Last week, Congressman Paul Tonko (D-NY) introduced the “Betting on our Future Act” in hopes of advancing new legislation that would ban all online and electronic advertising of sports gambling.

According to Tonko, “these ads pose a particularly dangerous threat to adolescents and young adults unaware of the risks involved in gambling, and to individuals prone to addiction.”

Not surprisingly, the TV industry wasn’t thrilled about Tonko’s bill.

TV Industry opposes the bill

“We oppose legislation that bans both mobile sports and casino sportsbook advertising in the United States,” said David Donovan, President of the New York State Broadcasters Association. According to Donovan, this type of advertising is actually a type of public service to viewers because it educates consumers in this highly competitive market.

Media Companies are now getting into the game!

The TV industry has increasingly tried to cultivate a wagering advertising category. Fox Sports entered a partnership with Flutter Entertainment to develop national media sports wagering.  It also owns an equity stake in Flutter and maintains valuable options to acquire approximately 18.5% of FanDuel Group, which is a minority-owned subsidiary of Flutter.

However, most telecasters are mainly interested in good old-fashioned advertising revenues to be had from the burgeoning digital sports-betting category. To which, market forces may be moving in that direction anyway, according to data from Standard Media Index (SMI).

Surprisingly, a dip in revenue in 2022

According to SMI, gross ad spend for online betting jumped 167% in 2021 compared to the previous year. However, in 2022, the category’s ad spend decreased by nearly 10%.

What do you think? Will sports gambling ads on TV go away similar to cigarette advertising?

Carolina Macedo, the author, is Project Coordinator of Marketing Keys.

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February 13, 2023