Leagues, broadcasters form coalition to ensure responsible sports betting advertising

April 19, 2023 4:25 PM
Photo: NBA Logo flickr photo by theglobalpanorama shared under a Creative Commons (BY-SA) license
  • Rege Behe, CDC Gaming Reports
April 19, 2023 4:25 PM

Sports leagues and media outlets are joining together to ensure that ads for sports betting are responsible.

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The Coalition for Responsible Sports Betting Advertising, launched Wednesday, features the NFL, NBA, NHL, WNBA, Major League Baseball, Major League Soccer, and NASCAR, along with NBC Universal and Fox. The parties are intent on implementing consumer protection policies adhering to six principles:

  • 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 advertisements should be in good taste.
  • Publishers should have appropriate internal reviews of sports-betting advertising.
  • Publishers should review consumer complaints pertaining to sports-betting advertising.

“Forming this coalition with fellow leaders in sports and entertainment is another important step for our industry as legal sports betting continues to grow,” said MLB Executive Vice President, Media & Business Development Kenny Gersh in a statement. “While providing new fan engagement opportunities to enjoy our sport in more ways, we have to continue to be mindful and deliberate with how these sports betting options are presented and to whom they’re directed. Layering this coalition’s work in the advertising arena on top of our efforts to promote responsible gambling and address problem gambling challenges will lead to more thoughtful planning and implementation across the board.”

“As America’s leader in live sports, FOX and FOX Sports are committed to providing fans a responsible and ethical engagement with sports betting, keeping the integrity of the games and our broadcasts at the forefront at all times,” said FOX Sports Executive Vice president, Head of Strategy and Analytics Mike Mulvihill.

Since the repeal of the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act in 2018, 33 states and the District of Columbia have legalized sports betting.

David Purdum of ESPN, citing figures supplied by iSpot, which measures TV advertising and audiences, noted that sportsbook brands spent $21.4 million on national TV advertising in 2019, the first full year of regulated sports betting. In 2022, operators and brands spent $314.6 million on sports-betting ads.

American Gaming Association Senior Vice President Casey Clark praised the formation of the coalition. “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,” Clark said via email. “Building a sustainable legal wagering market requires alignment from the entire sports betting ecosystem, and today’s announcement is another important step.”