[WASHINGTON, DC] – U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) released the following statement in response to a new Responsible Marketing Code for Sports Wagering issued by the American Gaming Association (AGA), which includes a prohibition on college partnerships that promote, market or advertise sports wagering activity:
“The American Gaming Association’s new sports betting code of conduct is a serious effort to protect young people from gambling addiction. I applaud AGA for seeking to set meaningful industry standards that specifically prohibit college partnerships that promote, market or advertise sports betting. Unfortunately, the benefits of this new code are limited given that not all sports betting companies – in fact, many of the largest ones – aren’t members of the AGA and don’t abide by their standards. Caesars’ irresponsible – and on occasion, potentially illegal – marketing to college students through their schools remains entirely unacceptable. I look forward to learning more from the schools themselves about what outreach they’ve received from sports betting companies, particularly in light of AGA’s new industry standards that make clear that any sports betting partnerships with schools is unacceptable.”
Yesterday, Blumenthal wrote to colleges and universities with the top revenue generating basketball and football programs in the United States, seeking information about possible partnerships with sports betting companies and urging the schools to consider the serious risks on-campus sports betting poses to students. Blumenthal discussed the letters on Monday at an event with the Connecticut Council on Problem Gambling in Hartford, Connecticut.
“Universities, and their athletic departments, have a duty first and foremost to protect student health. Certain factors – such as their age, stress, and past substance abuse or depression histories – make students especially vulnerable to gambling addiction,” wrote Blumenthal. “Experts have said that it can be difficult for young people to recognize their inability to gamble responsibly, so it is deeply concerning that universities are willing to partner with sports betting companies.”
In November, Blumenthal wrote Caesars Sportsbook & Casino urging the company to “end its practice of targeting colleges and universities, discontinue any existing partnerships with schools, and abide by industry standards that prohibit marketing to college students.” Blumenthal also wrote the American Gaming Association (AGA), which has established standards that explicitly prohibit advertising sports wagering on college or university campuses as well as in college- or university-affiliated news assets.
Blumenthal’s letters follow increased reporting about the ways that sports betting companies are partnering with colleges and universities to target students with online gambling advertisements. For example, in 2021, after Louisiana State University signed a deal with Caesars, the university sent a campus-wide email encouraging students to “place your first bet (and earn your first bonus).” As Blumenthal noted in his letter to the AGA, “experts have said that it can be difficult for young people to recognize their inability to gamble responsibly, which could lead to serious mental and financial consequences.”
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