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As mobile sports betting starts in Massachusetts some ads are under investigation

Mobile sports betting ads under investigation in Massachusetts
Mobile sports betting ads under investigation in Massachusetts 02:33

BOSTON - Mobile sports betting goes live in Massachusetts Friday morning, but some FanDuel advertisements have been pulled. 

The State Gaming Commission is looking into whether they violated state regulations for betting promotions. One ad referenced pre-loaded credit cards and another touted free bets. That's something that's not allowed in Massachusetts gaming ads. 

"All these free bets you're seeing, it's to lure you in and keep you hooked, constantly keeping you in action, and a whole bunch of those folks are going to experience life-changing financial losses," said Les Bernal, with the group Stop Predatory Gambling. 

FanDuel did not respond to our requests for comment. Mobile sports betting apps are set to go live at 10 a.m. Friday. 

Members of the state Attorney General's Office testified before the Commission, expressing concerns about young people falling into dangerous gambling habits. "Inundated with advertising, one student realizes a referral bonus is available. Within hours a dorm full of students have downloaded the apps," said Assistant State Attorney General Patrick Moore. "This weekend's activity is sports betting," he added.

"I started gambling when I was 13 years old. I placed a $5 bet," said Gary Schneider a recovered gambling addict who lives in New Jersey, where mobile sports betting has been legal for a few years. "Came to a point, the New York bookmaker had to ask me, do you know how much you placed to bet this week? I said no I didn't have any idea. And he said you bet over $250,000." 

He said he became isolated and suicidal, and now worries kids in Massachusetts could end up on the same path. 

"The vast overwhelming majority of people are going to lose enormous sums of money," said Bernal. "Most of them are young men under the age of 35 and particularly teenagers who are getting hooked on this stuff." 

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