Sports Betting

US Congressman Paul Tonko Refines SAFE Bet Act, Proposes New Sports Betting Restrictions

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Paul Tonko New York pic

In New York, Congressman Paul Tonko (D-NY) is working to make sports betting safer for customers. Tonko is including language in a federal bill that will restrict the frequency of sports betting advertisements. He plans to do this through the SAFE Bet Act. The three major areas of focus for Paul Tonko are advertising affordability and artificial intelligence. Lawmakers are working to ensure these restrictions will be in place to help protect bettors in New York. Tonko had this to say to at a community event in Saratoga Springs New York.

We put a framework out, now we are word smithing it,” said Paul Tonko. “We are networking with folks to make certain we get (the bill) exactly as we intended.”

Advertising, Affordability, and Artificial Intelligence

First up on Paul Tonko’s agenda is advertising. Last year, this was first addressed by Tonko in the Betting on Our Future Act. He noted that several states have specific regulations around advertising and the language that is used to entice bettors. For example, Ohio was offering “free bets” or “risk-free” for customers who bet their own money first. That did not sit well with other lawmakers around the country and eventually, that language was no longer used in the sports betting industry. 

Additionally, all stadiums in Massachusetts with sportsbook logos must include “21 or over” language. That’s where Paul Tonko’s SAFE Bet Act wants to take it a step further in the industry. He hopes New York can make this happen and other states will soon follow. Tonko wants to ban programming that is designed with “no sweat” or “bonus bets” features. Along with that, Paul Tonko wants to prohibit betting ads during live sports events. That’s become more apartments as sports betting grows around the country. 

Next up is affordability. Paul Tonko’s federal legislation wants to prohibit bettors from being able to place more than five deposits in less than 24 hours. Congressman Tonko also wants bettors to apply “affordability checks” before large bets are made. They haven’t determined what that bet size will be just yet. 

Other states besides New York are working to protect their bettors. For example, Maine has strict advertising rules. They are not allowed to use celebrities for advertising and cannot promote bonus offers. In Pennsylvania, some sportsbooks prohibit customers from using credit cards to fund online gaming accounts. 

Finally, the use of artificial intelligence. There’s been ongoing discourse about whether AI has helped or harmed the sports betting market. Paul Tonko’s SAFE Bet Act wants to restrict the use of AI in New York sports betting. He wants to stop AI from tracking player habits and take away the personalized promotions they offer. Lastly, Tonko doesn’t want sportsbooks using AI to create gambling products like AI pricing for live bets. On the flip side, developers of AI are looking to push the limits and see just how far they can go in this industry. That’s exactly what Paul Tonko is trying to stop from happening. Will he ever be able to fully restrict AI from being used in the sports betting industry in New York?