Massachusetts Mulls Over Prohibiting Third-Party Sports Betting Marketing Deals

The Massachusetts Gaming Commission has started considering banning third-party sports betting marketing deals after Attorney General Andrea Campbell urged the regulator to establish guidelines on sports betting advertising. If approved, the new measure will focus on limiting the number of advertisements that encourage people to gamble more.

On 3rd March, Massachusetts’ gaming authority agreed to temporarily lift some of the restrictions on affiliate agreements and allowed Cost Per Acquisitions (CPA) and revenue-sharing models until 14th April upon request of FanDuel, BetMGM, and licensed marketing affiliates. The upcoming expiration of the waiver has made the Massachusetts Gaming Commission consider what rules it should introduce to establish a safe sports betting environment.

Massachusetts to Implement a Ban on Third-Party Affiliate Marketing

Major sportsbooks, such as FanDuel and DraftKings, entered Massachusetts’ lucrative sports betting market by using various advertising strategies to attract the attention of punters. The two betting companies use celebrities and top athletes, such as former football tight end Rob Gronkowski and the most prominent designated hitter in baseball history David Ortiz, to promote their services and bonuses.

The massive number of sports betting commercials did not fall under the gambling regulator’s radar. State regulators have shared their concerns that excessive gambling advertisements may lead to a dramatic increase in people who find it difficult to control their gambling habits. The Commission is now discussing proposed measures seeking to ban sportsbooks and third-party marketers from entering into agreements that include compensation for the affiliate based on the number of bettors, wagers placed, and outcome of wagers.

Still, the good news is that agreements that have already been signed are unlikely to be ended, even if the local gambling regulator implements the proposed restrictions. At the beginning of March, New England Sports Network revealed that it stroke a multi-year sponsorship deal with FanDuel, under which FanDuel will be included in commercials, in-game advertisements, and pre-game features aired on New England Sports Network (NESN) – the main broadcaster of the Boston Red Sox and the Boston Bruins.

Not Everyone Welcomes the Suspension

On March 9, only one day before the official launch of mobile sports betting in Massachusetts, Attorney General Andrea Campbell voiced her concerns that regular exposure to gambling jeopardizes young people’s health. In a nine-page letter to the Massachusetts Gaming Commission, Campbell’s office explained that the expansion of mobile sports betting may result in high rates of problem gambling.

Third-party marketing affiliates strongly opposed the proposed ban, explaining that they not only promote sports betting services but also provide important information for bettors. Some affiliated websites even offer detailed sports betting guides. Lou Monaco, a gaming analyst for the website, explained that affiliate sites advertise sportsbooks and their services indirectly, unlike gambling advertising on radio and TV.