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Bloomberg reported this week that US advertising spend among gambling firms dropped by 21% year-on-year in 2023.

That marked the first decline in marketing spend since PASPA was overturned in 2018, the article points out, as advertising spend from the gambling sector peaked at some $1.4bn in 2022.

Compare that to the gambling ad spend (excluding daily fantasy sports) of just $22.9m in 2017, and it’s easy to see why operators have begun to face some backlash among the US public.

In the wake of the PASPA repeal, operators spent hand-over-fist on marketing efforts in an attempt to be the first to sign up new customers.

Five years later, however, and as investors have begun to tire of continuing losses, companies have turned their attention towards profitability and therefore started reducing their advertising spend.

In addition, high-profile gambling-related scandals like the lifetime ban of the NBA’s Jontay Porter last month have also created a less-than-friendly environment towards the betting sector in the US.

Of the total advertising spend, which fell to around $1.1bn in 2023, the majority is spent on TV ads, the article points out.

Still, the American Gaming Association pointed out that sports betting ads still account for under 1% of national TV advertising, with the most space dedicated to sectors including fast food, alcohol, telecoms and pharmaceuticals.

While gambling-related advertising spend appears to be here to stay, many will be grateful that the amount of marketing has come down in the past year.

Not only will investors be pleased with the associated reduction in costs, but sports fans and avid TV viewers will also be spared a constant barrage of gambling messaging.

NGCB weighs in on Sibella

The Nevada Independent this week brought us the latest twist in an ongoing saga involving former Resorts World Las Vegas president, Scott Sibella.

Just months after Sibella pleaded guilty to violating the Bank Secrecy Act, “in connection with a sprawling, ongoing federal illegal bookmaking investigation,” the Nevada Gaming Control Board (NGCB) has filed an additional, three-count complaint against the disgraced executive.

Sibella was fired from his job at Resorts World last September, after overseeing the June 2021 opening of the $4bn Las Vegas Strip property.

He pleaded guilty in January to violating federal AML laws back in 2018, when he was president of the MGM Grand. 

At the time, Sibella broke AML rules by allowing Wayne Nix, a former minor league baseball player and alleged illegal bookmaker, to gamble millions of dollars at the casino and pay his debts in cash.

Sibella is now due to be sentenced next week on 8 May and may face up to five years in prison, though Nevada Independent columnist John L. Smith has suggested he is more likely to receive a one-year probation and a fine.

At least one thing seems to be for sure; it’s not likely we’ll be seeing Sibella take the helm at another Las Vegas property any time soon.

Betting doesn’t pay

The Mail Online revealed today that temporarily-banned football player Sandro Tonali has taken a voluntary pay cut at Newcastle United due to the guilt he felt after being banned so soon after transferring to the club.

Tonali had made just 12 appearances for Newcastle following his £52m move from AC Milan, before he was hit with a 10-month suspension for illegal gambling activity in Italy.

FA rules strictly prohibit professional footballers from betting on the games, a rule which was broken by Tonali as he placed bets even on matches played by his own team.

The 10-month ban was followed up this week by an additional suspended two-month ban handed down by the FA.

Tonali is expected to return to action at the end of August, however.

The Mail Online revealed that during his suspension, Tonali has not received his full £120,000 per week salary.

Newcastle manager Eddie Howe insisted that this: “was something he wanted to do. He felt the guilt, and he felt that joining a new club it was something he wanted to show the club, in good faith, that he was sorry and was determined to put it behind him and try to learn from it.

“They are all really good signs, I think, for the future, that we’ve got a very good human being in the football club and someone who is keen to show all the good he can do for Newcastle United.”

Howe went on to celebrate Tonali’s talents, suggesting his presence in the team over the past months could have helped Newcastle secure several key victories.

Still, Tonali has “conducted himself in a really positive way” throughout the ban, and continues to train with the team in preparation for his return to professional play.

If there’s one thing Tonali, and the rest of Newcastle United, will be hoping for, it’s to put this scandal behind them once and for all.

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