The National Basketball Association, National Football League, National Hockey League, Major League Baseball, Major League Soccer, Women’s National Basketball Association and NASCAR have formed the Coalition for Responsible Sports Betting Advertising. FOX and NBCUniversal also are members.
In a statement, the members said, “As the legalization of sports betting spreads nationwide, we feel it is critical to establish guardrails around how sports betting should be advertised to consumers across the United States. Each member of the coalition feels a responsibility to ensure sports betting advertising is not only targeted to an appropriate audience, but also that the message is thoughtfully crafted and carefully delivered.”
The group defined six core principles it will follow to promote responsible advertising:
- Sports betting should be marketed only to adults of legal betting age.
- Sports betting advertising should not promote irresponsible or excessive gambling or degrade the consumer experience.
- Sports betting advertisements should not be misleading.
- Sports betting ads should be in good taste.
- Publishers should conduct appropriate internal reviews of sports betting advertising.
- Publishers should review consumer complaints regarding sports betting ads.
As sports wagering continues to spread, sports betting advertising has come under more intense scrutiny by government officials. In the past four months alone, U.S. Rep. Paul Tonko of New York introduced a bill to ban sports betting ads from TV and radio and U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut urged colleges to cut ties with sports betting companies. Also, Maryland legislators passed a bill to prevent colleges from receiving money to sign up wagerers.
New York regulators currently are drafting sports-betting advertising restrictions and Ohio regulators have imposed fines has fined BetMGM, Caesars and DraftKings for ad language violations. The sports-betting lobby also has revised its marketing code to limit partnerships and ban terms like “risk-free.”
From September 2021 through May 2022, sports betting operators spent $282 million on TV advertisements, a 281 percent increase compared to the same period one year before, according to iSpot. FanDuel parent company Flutter Entertainment ranked seventh in all local TV sports-betting ad spending for December 2022, the most recent month available in Nielsen reports.
Recently, DraftKings Chief Executive Officer Jason Robins said operators could save money by running more nationwide ads since nearly 75 percent of states have legalized sports betting.
American Gaming Association Senior Vice President Casey Clark said, “We applaud the responsible advertising commitments announced today by many of America’s biggest players in sports entertainment. Closely mirroring commitments already made by AGA members through our recently updated Responsible Marketing Code for Sports Wagering, these efforts reflect a shared prioritization of responsible gaming and consumer protection. Building a sustainable legal wagering market requires alignment from the entire sports betting ecosystem, and today’s announcement is another important step.”