An Upstate New York Congressman Wants To Regulate Sports Gambling Radio Commercials Nationally

Congressman Tonko believes constant playing of commercials is harmful to the public’s health.

March Madness, the National Collegiate Athletic Association’s Men’s Basketball Tournament, is just days away and there is an anticipation in states that offer legalized sports betting that March will be a big betting month. But there is another story that bears watching that is partially connected to March Madness and gambling. New York Congressman Paul Tonko, who represents the Albany-area, has introduced the Betting On Our Future Act that would ban all online and electronic advertising of sports gambling. The New York State Broadcasters Association opposes the legislation. Sports gambling commercials bring in much needed revenue to sports talk radio stations. Congressman Tonko contends that “the excessive, uncensored promotion of these sites needs to be put in check. My legislation puts a halt to this dangerous practice and sends a powerful message to the online sports betting advertisers. Congress must take the necessary steps to reel in an industry with the power to inflict real, widespread harm on the American people.”

But the President of the New York  State Broadcasters Association David Donovan has a word or two for Tonko. Don’t do it. “We oppose legislation that bans both mobile sports and casino sportsbook advertising in the United States. Advertising is essential to educate consumers in this highly competitive market,” said Donovan. “The tax revenue generated by sports betting has helped to finance essential government services for citizens throughout New York State. It has stimulated local economies in areas lacking job opportunities. Advertising revenue from these ads helps broadcast stations meet the needs of their communities by financing local news and public affairs programs.”  Congressman Tonko is using the Federal Cigarette Labeling and Advertising Act, which banned tobacco advertisements, as his guide in drafting the legislation. He thinks that commercial after commercial of online sports betting advertising is harmful to the public. The fight over radio sports gambling spots has begun.

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