U.S. Rep Paul Tonko has introduced federal gambling legislation aimed at regulating the industry as a public health issue, bringing it in line with alcohol, tobacco and opioids.

The Democrat from New York claims the SAFE Bet Act will be focused on advertising and affordability, as well as the impact of AI on gambling.

Support for the legislation has also been given by advisors from the Northeastern Univerity’s Public Health Advocacy Institute.

The institute’s Gambling Policy Advisor, Harry Levant, said: “Sports always belonged to the American people, the American family,

“Sports now belongs to the gambling industry. I would like to think there are people in those leadership positions, and potentially even gambling industry companies, who will say, ‘You know what? This thing has gotten out of control. It needs to be regulated to protect the American public.’”

Federal Gambling Legislation Key Facts

The SAFE Bet Act follows on from the Betting on our Future Act, which Tonto introduced last year. That aimed to ban all online and electronic gambling advertising for sports betting.

This new bill goes even further, wanting to ban advertising during live events, and also prohibiting promotions that offer bonus bets, odds boosts and other inducements.

What’s more, this new federal gambling legislation brings attention to the use of artificial intelligence. This will prevent operators from tracking customers’ gambling patterns, which are in turn used to offer targeted promotions and ‘microbets’.

The Public Advocacy Institute’s Executive Director, Mark Gottlieb, said: “One of my greatest concerns about an unregulated sports betting industry is its use of massive supercomputing power and artificial intelligence to deliver thousands of instant microbets that are carefully tailored to each consumer’s gambling profile,

“These sorts of bets are offered every few seconds of practically every sporting event and provide opportunities for hundreds if not thousands of bets during a single contest.”

New Bill Goes Further Than Ever

On top of this, further proposals include mandatory checks on affordability for customers. The proposals would also monitor the collection of data on sports betting, and establish a national clearinghouse for people who don’t want to be contacted by betting companies.

This plan from Tonko brings a bipartisan approach in both the Senate and House, refining the bill’s language on order to garner further support in the coming months.

At the state level, representatives in Louisiana have brought forward House Bill 727. This bill’s aim is to prohibit sports betting and daily fantasy advertising on television.

Democrat State Rep. Mena told WDSU News: “I’m not proposing that we ban online sports betting, not at all — I’m just want to ban the advertisement of it,

“I’m fighting for the young men and women who are addicted to these products. Young men under the age of 35 are the largest demographic of online gambling addicts.”