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Blumenthal Statement on Updates to the American Gambling Association's "Responsible Marketing Code"

[WASHINGTON, DC] – U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) released the following statement today in response to a new Responsible Marketing Code for Sports Wagering issued by the American Gaming Association (AGA), which includes a prohibition on college partnerships that promote, market or advertise sports wagering activity:

“The American Gaming Association’s new sports betting code of conduct is a serious effort to protect young people from gambling addiction. I applaud AGA for seeking to set meaningful industry standards that specifically prohibit college partnerships that promote, market or advertise sports betting. Unfortunately, the benefits of this new code are limited given that not all sports betting companies – in fact, many of the largest ones – aren’t members of the AGA and don’t abide by their standards. Caesars’ irresponsible – and on occasion, potentially illegal – marketing to college students through their schools remains entirely unacceptable. I look forward to learning more from the schools themselves about what outreach they’ve received from sports betting companies, particularly in light of AGA’s new industry standards that make clear that any sports betting partnerships with schools is unacceptable.”

Yesterday, Blumenthal wrote to colleges and universities with the top revenue generating basketball and football programs in the United States, seeking information about possible partnerships with sports betting companies and urging the schools to consider the serious risks on-campus sports betting poses to students. Blumenthal discussed the letters on Monday at an event with the Connecticut Council on Problem Gambling in Hartford, Connecticut.

“Universities, and their athletic departments, have a duty first and foremost to protect student health. Certain factors – such as their age, stress, and past substance abuse or depression histories – make students especially vulnerable to gambling addiction,” wrote Blumenthal. “Experts have said that it can be difficult for young people to recognize their inability to gamble responsibly, so it is deeply concerning that universities are willing to partner with sports betting companies.”

In November, Blumenthal wrote Caesars Sportsbook & Casino urging the company to “end its practice of targeting colleges and universities, discontinue any existing partnerships with schools, and abide by industry standards that prohibit marketing to college students.” Blumenthal also wrote the American Gaming Association (AGA), which has established standards that explicitly prohibit advertising sports wagering on college or university campuses as well as in college- or university-affiliated news assets.

Blumenthal’s letters follow increased reporting about the ways that sports betting companies are partnering with colleges and universities to target students with online gambling advertisements. For example, in 2021, after Louisiana State University signed a deal with Caesars, the university sent a campus-wide email encouraging students to “place your first bet (and earn your first bonus).” As Blumenthal noted in his letter to the AGA, “experts have said that it can be difficult for young people to recognize their inability to gamble responsibly, which could lead to serious mental and financial consequences.”

The recipients of the letter are: Auburn University; Baylor University; Boston College; Brigham Young University; Clemson University; Duke University; Georgetown University; Gonzaga University; Indiana University – Bloomington; Iowa State University; Kansas State University; Louisiana State University and Agricultural & Mechanical College; Marquette University; Michigan State University; North Carolina State University at Raleigh; Northwestern University; Ohio State University – Main Campus; Oklahoma State University-Main Campus; Providence College; Purdue University – Main Campus; Rutgers University – New Brunswick; Stanford University; Syracuse University; Texas A&M University – College Station; Texas Christian University; Texas Tech University; The Pennsylvania State University; The University of Alabama; The University of Tennessee – Knoxville; The University of Texas at Austin; University of Arizona; University of Arkansas; University of California – Los  Angeles; University of Colorado Boulder; University of Connecticut; University of Dayton; University of Florida; University of Georgia; University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign; University of Iowa; University of Kansas; University of Kentucky; University of Louisville; University of Maryland-College Park; University of Miami; University of Michigan – Ann Arbor; University of Minnesota – Twin Cities; University of Mississippi; University of Missouri – Columbia; University of Nebraska-Lincoln; University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; University of Notre Dame; University of Oklahoma – Norman Campus; University of Oregon; University of Pittsburgh – Pittsburgh Campus; University of South Carolina – Columbia; University of Southern California; University of Utah; University of Virginia – Main Campus; University of Washington – Seattle Campus; University of Wisconsin – Madison; Vanderbilt University; Villanova University; Virginia Commonwealth University; Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University; Wichita State University; and Xavier University.

The full text of the letter is available here.