By Hilary Russ
NEW YORK (Reuters) – U.S. casinos on Tuesday agreed to a code of conduct for responsible marketing of sports betting, a year after a pivotal court ruling paved the way for a new country-wide legal sports wagering market.
The code calls for members of the American Gaming Association, a casino industry group, to advertise sports betting products only to adults.
That means no cartoon characters, music or entertainers that appeal primarily to kids. It also bars ads placed in media outlets and venues where most of the audience is expected to be below the legal sports wagering age, which is usually 18 to 21 years old depending on the state.
The new U.S. sports betting market is a huge opportunity for media companies, leagues and teams to cash in on sportsbook operators’ need to reach betters through advertising and marketing.
Those operators include William Hill PLC, FanDuel Group, a unit of Paddy Power Betfair PLC, DraftKings, MGM Resorts International, Caesars Entertainment Corp, tribal casinos and many others.
Sports betting could drive $7 billion of incremental advertising spending in 2019, Evercore ISI analyst Anthony DiClemente said last year.
In the beginning of 2015’s National Football League season, FanDuel and DraftKings battled for dominance in daily fantasy sports, drowning the airwaves with ads during games, to the annoyance of many fans.
Combined, they spent more than $305 million on more than 80,000 ads that year, according to iSpot.tv.
Since the U.S. Supreme Court a year ago overturned a 1992 federal ban on sports wagering outside of Nevada, states have passed legislation that legalizes, regulates and taxes the activity.
Currently, eight states are offering sports betting. Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb signed a bill into law last week, while Iowa Governor Kim Reynold signed one on Monday.
The market is expected to grow to $5.7 billion in annual revenue to gaming operators in 34 states by 2024, according to research from GamblingCompliance.
That does not include huge population centers like Florida, California and Texas, where political and legal hurdles have complicated legalization efforts.
A more bullish forecast that includes some of those areas could see 40 states go live and $7.9 billion of revenues by 2024, GamblingCompliance found.
If all 50 states legalize it and allow mobile wagers, sports betting could generate more than $17 billion over time, the analytics firm Eilers & Krejcik predicts.
(Reporting by Hilary Russ; Editing by Sonya Hepinstall)