American marketers like online sports betting operator DraftKings can largely self-regulate their messages. That freedom may soon be called into question by the New York State Gaming Commission (NYSGC). That’s because, on Sept. 10, DraftKings ran a “Never Forget” parlay about three New York teams playing on Sept. 11.
“Never Forget” is the phrase uttered yearly to honor the nearly 3,000 victims of the terror attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. Hijacked planes caused the deaths in New York, Pennsylvania, and at the Pentagon in Arlington County, Va. Most casualties occurred at the World Trade Center towers in New York City.
So, offering a parlay referencing the attacks was in poor taste, at best, but legal.
Nevertheless, DraftKings apologized today.
However, that apology didn’t appear to be enough for New York regulators.
NYSGC Communications Director Brad Maione told Bonus today:
This was reprehensible. We expect all licensees to exercise sensitivity.
Will there be any consequences for DraftKings?
Maione told Bonus:
That statement arrives amid the commission’s review of operator marketing and advertising regulations for New York sportsbooks. The top revenue-producing online sports betting state has been looking into tightening regulations on the ads for months.
Meanwhile, the commission’s September meeting date and agenda aren’t out yet. Plus, Maione didn’t offer Bonus a hint about whether operator marketing and advertising regulations will be discussed.
Maione said to Bonus:
We will provide required notice for the next meeting.
DraftKings Marketing About New York, US iGaming Ad Discussion
Lawmakers and regulators in New York and across the US began to take a closer look at American online gambling operators after Nov. 20, 2022. That’s when the New York Times ran several articles examining the legal gambling industry. The special focus landed on sports betting operators and their marketing and advertising practices.
After that, bills and regulatory reevaluations emerged.
With state legislatures in recess right now, much of the talk has died down for the moment.
Then, the DraftKings marketing misdeed emerged.
Members of the public who had seemingly forgotten about the legislative and regulatory pushes are again asking for flesh.
So, will this DraftKings apology be enough?
This is what DraftKings posted on X and emailed to Bonus today:
We sincerely apologize for the featured parlay that was shared briefly in commemoration of 9/11. We respect the significance of this day for our country and especially for the families of those who were directly affected.
The American Gaming Association (AGA), which published an enhanced Responsible Marketing Code for Sports Wagering on March 28 after the last public outcry, had no comment for Bonus today.
The online gambling industry may soon learn if one DraftKings marketing misdeed will have industrywide consequences.