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Sportsbooks in Massachusetts to Display Age Warnings

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Last week, on June 29, Massachusetts lawmakers passed regulations requiring sportsbooks in the state to incorporate age warnings in their logos when they are displayed inside a sports venue.

The new rules are designed to protect minors from the harms of sports betting. The introduction of the gambling regulation was far from straightforward. The Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC) approved the new policies by a margin of 3-2 following months of discussions and public consultations. However, now that they have been passed, sportsbooks have just 90 days to comply with them.

The rules are mainly targeting standalone sportsbook logos, which minors are considered likely to see. Venues are now required to display age restriction warnings prominently to all in attendance.

Sports betting adverts in Massachusetts already feature a disclaimer explaining that sports betting is only available to those 21 and above. The only thing that sports betting operators have to do now is add a “21+” label to their logos.

The new rules only apply to fixed signage in sports venues and do not cover logos on apparel, letterhead or business cards. Furthermore, they do not apply to any other public displays of the sportsbook’s logos.

Fanatics Challenged by New Rules

Fanatics is one of the companies expected to be significantly affected by the new rules. The company uses the same logo for its sportsbook and apparel sectors. This means that Fanatics will either need to design a new sports book logo or add a “21+” label to all instances of its logo displayed in sports stadiums.

Commissioners Eileen O’Brien, Nakisha Skinner, and Jordan Maynard supported the MGC’s new rule. However, Chair Cathy Judd-Stein and Commissioner Bradford R. Hill opposed them. Judd-Stein was worried that the rules would not be an effective way of deterring young people from sports betting and highlighted the fact that Massachusetts is taking a different approach to other states.

Nonetheless, a majority of commissioners supported the rules, and there is an expectation that other states will follow suit. The new rules are just the latest of a series of measures taken by the state to protect minors. In April, Massachusetts revealed plans to involve sportsbooks in providing data to aid research into gambling addiction and in March, the state created a voluntary self-exclusion program.

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