Massachusetts Looks To Ban Ads Targeted At Underage Bettors

Written By Caleb Tallman on September 23, 2022
Sports betting still stalled in MA

Sports betting is on its way to Massachusetts. In preparation for launch, the Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC) is looking to be one of the country’s strictest sports betting regulators in regards to advertisements allowed in the state. The organization is going as far as altogether banning ads that are targeted at underage sports bettors. 

Sports Betting Ads Can Misrepresent Potential Winnings

Most gambling and sports betting ads are going to focus solely on the positives of gambling. The unintended consequence of this is that it can draw in potential underage bettors.

In addition, sports gambling ads sometimes focus on staggeringly big wins, which can be rare. They can also show potential users that they could get rich from sports betting. 

Everyone dreams of hitting that massive parlay with crazy high odds that makes you rich from a small wager. Some players do win those wagers, and many ads portray those big wins. However, the ads do not show that there have been many more losses to cover the bets that hit, and sportsbooks make a lot of money from those losses. 

Under Age Gambling Restrictions: Massachusetts To Be Strict On Underage Sports Gambling

Sportsbooks Argue Protecting Consumers

The flip side to this argument is that regulations have gotten stronger since the changing of laws that allowed for states to choose for themselves whether to allow for sports gambling. This is because many sports bettors were going to unregulated overseas sportsbooks to make wagers. These offshore sports betting platforms do not have the same regulations and licensure requirements as American sportsbooks. There is reason to believe that limiting ads will only help overseas sportsbooks to grow because they do not follow the restrictions imposed on sportsbooks operating within each state’s rules.

Sportsbooks have also argued that they are already following American Gaming Association Guidelines. The guidelines require that 73.6% of the potential viewing audience is measured to be of legal gambling age. The question remains is whether the MGC needs to enforce measures stricter than what the AGA already does.

Related news: Massachusetts Sports Betting Still Waiting On Official Launch Date

PlayMyWay Wagering Budget App

Many MGC voters have also spoken favorably of the potential of the self-limiting budget app, PlayMyWay. It helps sports bettors self-impose a betting budget limit within different time frames. Many think it could be a key piece in helping prevent problem gambling. 

MGC licensing requirements could also make sportsbooks spend a certain amount of money on warning the public of the dangers of gambling. These public service announcements would either be set amounts for every sportsbook, or more likely, a requirement to be a certain percentage of each sportsbook’s budget.

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