NCLGS President Targets Online Ads

National Council of Legislators from Gaming States President Shawn Fluharty (l.), West Virginia Minority Whip, told Casino Reports online gambling advertising that targets problem gamblers is a serious problem.

NCLGS President Targets Online Ads

In a recent interview with Casino Reports, West Virginia Minority Whip Shawn Fluharty, president of the National Council of Legislators from Gaming States, said one of the leading issues among his colleagues and constituents is advertising for online gambling.

Fluharty said, “I worry that if we don’t see a state-by-state framework analysis in collaboration, then you’ll see the federal government jump in. And that’s the last thing we want because they don’t come in to fix problems. They usually come in and make more problems.”

In an attempt to rein in online gambling advertising and promote responsible gaming practices, U.S. Representative Paul Tonko of New York has proposed the SAFE Bet Act. And U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut is sponsoring the GRIT Act, which would direct half of the federal sports betting excise tax to problem gambling services. Blumenthal also recently sent a letter to eight sports betting operators insisting they “stop leveraging data to target problem gamblers with promotions and ads.”

In a speech at the Wheeler Clinic Family Health & Wellness Center in Hartford, Connecticut, Blumenthal said, “Sports betting companies are exploiting, targeting and taking advantage of vulnerable problem gamblers. They are enticing problem gamblers by targeting them based on the data they collect in real time about who is betting how much and where, and they are collecting that data and then targeting the most vulnerable problem gamblers to do more, leading them down dark paths to addiction. And the reason very simply is that they want to make more money.”

In Massachusetts, interim Gaming Commission Chairman Jordan Maynard brought up the subject of limiting bettors, asking if sportsbooks would limit losing players with the same enthusiasm as winning players.