Kansas Could Ban Online Sports Betting Advertisements

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A bipartisan group of Kansas lawmakers is looking to make wide changes to the state’s rules on sports betting advertising.

Under Senate Bill 432, Kansas sports betting operators would be banned from any online advertising in the state, including on social media.

The only kind of online ads allowed for operators under the proposed bill would be email marketing to customers who have already signed up and chosen to receive them.

SB432 was referred to the committee stage this week by Senator Virgil Peck (R-15) and Senator Cindy Holscher (D-8).

The two senators say that the prevalence of online gambling advertisements may normalize sports betting among younger people, leading to higher rates of problem gambling.

“No advertisements for sports wagering shall be published, broadcast, or otherwise presented through any internet website, other online medium, or electronic device application, except such advertisements may be published as part of the content offered by an interactive sports wagering platform that has been affirmatively accessed by an individual holding an account with such platform,” the bill reads.

National Picture

Kansas already prohibits advertising knowingly targeted at minors, those with a history of problem gambling, and those on state exclusion lists.

The new law would essentially outlaw all online advertising outside of email marketing, including on social media.

Most U.S. sports betting operators spend big on advertising and marketing, including three sports betting ads set to debut at halftime during the upcoming Super Bowl LVIII.

If these new rules in Kansas are implemented, it would make it one of the most restrictive markets in the U.S.

Maine sports betting debuted in 2023, with similar restrictions on online advertising for sportsbooks. However, with more than double the population and a much closer proximity to some major sports teams, Kansas’ market is a more serious prospect for sportsbooks.

Massachusetts is an even bigger market that is also known for being restrictive with advertising. But it hasn’t banned online ads completely.

The Massachusetts Gaming Commission did launch the market with a ban on TV ads during sporting event broadcasts, and all marketing activities on college campuses. It also caused operators much hassle when it introduced regulations requiring 21+ signage on sports stadium advertisements.

Operators said this was confusing and difficult to enforce. But the regulation went ahead anyway.

The closest bill in equivalence to this latest proposal in Kansas was filed in the U.S. House of Representatives in 2023, but has so far failed to gain much support.

U.S. Representative Paul Tonko (D-New York) suggested a federal ban on online sports betting advertising, under a similarly simple blanket model to this Kansas proposal.  

Kansas Sports Betting Stats

The Kansas sports betting market hit a record high in December 2023, coming in at $259 million in handle.

In 2023, its first full calendar year of legalization, bettors wagered more than $1.16 billion. From that, operators made $20.5 million in December alone, and around $200 million for the year.

Over 2023, Kansas sports betting operators paid $6.3 million in taxes.

In 2024, it recently saw the opening of the first Kansas retail sportsbook operated by one of the state’s Tribes.

The Prairie Band Potawatomi Tribe opened their independently run sportsbook at the Prairie Band Casino and Resort in Mayetta on January 4.

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