SAFE Bet Act Targets Predatory Sportsbook Practices to Protect Youth

SAFE Bet Act Targets Predatory Sportsbook Practices to Protect Youth

Youth sports betting is on the rise, and the implications are concerning. With the advent of mobile sports betting apps and the widespread legalization of gambling, young people are increasingly exposed to the risks of gambling addiction.

The SAFE Bet Act aims to address these risks and provide much-needed protections.

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Youth sports betting is rising rapidly.


Rising Trend Among Youths

Sports betting has become more accessible than ever. In recent years, 37 states have launched legal betting markets, allowing sportsbooks to take in over $337 million in bets, reports Newsnation. With betting apps at their fingertips, young people are now more susceptible to gambling.

Attorney General Andrea Joy Campbell of Massachusetts highlighted the urgent need to raise awareness about the public health risks associated with sports betting, especially for young people. The state has launched the Youth Sports Betting Safety Coalition to educate residents aged 12 through 20 about these risks, according to SBC Americas.

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Mobile betting apps make gambling easy for teens.


The SAFE Bet Act

Introduced by Rep. Paul Tonko, the SAFE Bet Act aims to protect gamblers from predatory practices. This bill focuses on three key areas: advertising, affordability, and artificial intelligence. It would prohibit sportsbook advertising during live events and restrict the use of promotional language like "bonus" or "no sweat" bets, Newsnation reports.

Tonko emphasized the need to shift the onus of responsible gambling from the individual to the sportsbooks.

“Sportsbooks have relied on the responsible gaming model where the onus is placed on the gambler. We need to change that,” he told Saratoga Today.

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Legal betting markets exist in 37 states.


Affordability and AI

The act also addresses affordability by limiting the number of deposits a customer can make in a day and prohibiting credit card deposits. Additionally, it requires sportsbooks to conduct "affordability checks" before accepting large wagers.

This measure aims to prevent individuals from betting beyond their means. Artificial intelligence plays a significant role in modern sports betting, tracking gambling habits and offering personalized promotions. The SAFE Bet Act seeks to ban the use of AI for these purposes, as it can lead to problematic gambling behaviors.

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Massachusetts launched a Youth Sports Betting Safety Coalition.


Public Health Implications

Gambling addiction is a growing concern, especially among young people. According to data cited by Tonko, about 7 million people nationwide have a gambling problem, with 20% of these individuals attempting suicide. These statistics underscore the need for comprehensive legislation to mitigate the public health impact of sports betting.

The act also mandates a report from the Surgeon General on the public health impacts of sports betting legalization, focusing particularly on young adults. This report aims to provide insights into the extent of gambling addiction and inform future policy decisions.

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The act focuses on advertising, affordability, and AI.


State Initiatives and Youth Education

States like Massachusetts are taking proactive steps to educate young people about the risks of gambling. The Youth Sports Betting Safety Coalition includes major sports teams and aims to provide evidence-based education and training, SBC Americas. This coalition represents a collaborative effort to safeguard the health and well-being of young residents.

In addition, the NCAA has launched campaigns such as "Draw the Line" to address the effects of betting on student-athletes. These initiatives aim to create a safer environment for young people who may be at risk of developing gambling addictions.


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SAFE Bet Act aims to protect young gamblers.

Poll Insights

A recent poll by the CommonWealth Beacon and GBH News revealed mixed results regarding youth sports betting. While 30% of 18- to 29-year-olds have placed a sports bet in the past year, most do so occasionally and for less than $20. However, a significant portion of young bettors gamble more frequently, which raises concerns about potential addiction.

Marlene Warner, CEO of the Massachusetts Council on Gaming and Health, emphasized the need to keep gambling products safe while acknowledging the inevitability of some individuals developing gambling problems. The goal is to minimize the risks and provide support for those who need it.

By addressing advertising practices, affordability, and the use of AI, this legislation aims to create a safer betting environment. Combined with state-led initiatives and educational campaigns, these efforts can help mitigate the risks associated with sports betting and safeguard the health of young people.

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