Gouker: the prevailing winds has brought us to ad restrictions

Dustin Gouker has lauded the American Gaming Association (AGA) for ‘actively fighting’ against Maine regulators to reverse plans for severe restrictions on sports betting advertising. 

Participating on the latest Legal Sports Report video, placed on its official YouTube channel, the Industry Analyst offered his thoughts alongside Adam Candee, LSR’s Managing Editor and Host, Matt Brown, on advertising in the US.

Stressing that  ‘prevailing winds’ have led to a ‘natural endpoint’, Gouker began: “This is one we’ve been talking about a lot, this coming wave of restrictions on advertising. 

“We’ve been saying this for years that operators should regulate themselves before this stuff comes down on you and here we have Maine who are looking to prevent some sort of advertising marketing or promotional bets using celebrity spokespersons. 

“The AGA comes out and states this is not great, this is how you let the offshore sportsbooks win because you’re throttling how you can promote this. Yes, there’s certainly some of what we’ve seen, like in Ohio, around responsible gambling and bonusing, that’s probably all good but Maine is taking it a step further, arguably where they’re handicapping what you can do when they launch sports betting props this year or so.”

At the close of February, the AGA sent a letter to the Maine Gambling Control Unit, with the former’s CEO, Bill Miller, asking the body to remove all restrictions on sports betting advertising, claiming the threats of illegal sportsbooks. 

“It’s good to see the AGA, which is really only a small part of its membership, really cares about sports betting and they’re taking a stance on actively fighting against restrictions like this,” stated Gouker. 

“We’ll see where this goes but this is the natural end point because there’s not been a great self-regulatory aspect to this and the prevailing winds have taken us to this point where regulators think they need to step in and do something about it and sometimes that is not going to be ideal for the industry.”

Echoing the points of Gouker, Candee emphasised that marketing to underage/college audiences is an area everybody is able to agree that a ‘serious change’ is needed in the way it is done. 

“We saw Barstool get fined in Ohio for this, we know that they’re not alone in terms of these questions because of the college partnerships that have been out there. We’ve been talking about these for years, starting with Pointsbet in Colorado where we said ‘really? Is this the wisest way to go about this?’ 

“To have partnerships with universities and sportsbooks, it just seems fraught with problems and we’ve seen some potential regulations popping up in New York.”

Concluding his point, Candee noted that the US is approaching a ‘reckoning point’ and currently has the opportunity to ‘look to the UK and Europe’ to learn lessons moving forward.