Coalition for Responsible Sports Betting Advertising
The newly-formed Coalition for Responsible Sports Betting Advertising, established on Wednesday, is a voluntary alliance that seeks to regulate sports betting advertising to consumers.
The leagues involved include the National Football League (NFL), the men’s and women’s leagues of the National Basketball Association (NBA, WNBA), Major League Baseball (MLB), NASCAR, the National Hockey League (NHL) and Major League Soccer (MLS).
NFL vice president of public policy and government affairs Jonathan Nabavi will lead the alliance.
“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 U.S.,”.
“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.” read a joint statement from the Coalition for Responsible Sports Betting Advertising.
The Coalition for Responsible Sports Betting Advertising was formed as a result of the American Gaming Association adopting a new responsible sports betting marketing code, set to take effect on July 1, which promotes responsible gambling practices in the industry.
Both initiatives acknowledge the growth in sports betting advertisements since the U.S. Supreme Court authorized any state to legalize sports betting five years ago.
They also have an implicit goal to self-regulate their advertising practices, preempting the possibility of government intervention.
Previously, Congressman Paul Tonko from New York introduced a bill to prohibit all online and digital sports betting advertising. At the same time, other lawmakers suggested that the government should regulate sports betting ads.
West Virginia state Delegate Shawn Fluharty spoke up regarding concerns among lawmakers over sports betting advertising frequency in public. He maintains that the coalition is a positive step, acknowledging that there is a cause for concern over potential government intervention in response to uncontrolled advertising.
The coalition has two key principles, each developed to protect consumers and the public.
The first principle stipulates that sports betting advertising should only target individuals of legal betting age, which is 21 and above. The second principle prohibits the promotion of irresponsible or excessive gambling and requires all ads to be composed in good taste and not be misleading.
Another point focuses on the role of sports betting advertising publishers, requiring them to conduct strict internal reviews and consider external complaints from consumers about their advertisements.
Responsible sports betting ads
Kenny Gersh, Major League Baseball’s executive vice president of media and business development, sees the group as a significant step for sports in the country as legal sports betting expands.
Gersh recognized sports gambling as a form of fan engagement to enjoy the sport. However, it is important to be mindful and deliberate with how the options are presented to the public and to whom they are directed.
That sentiment is shared by David Highhill, the NFL’s general sports betting manager, who said the leagues acknowledge advertising as a crucial aspect of responsible gambling. He regards the coalition might be able to aid problem gambling prevention and resourcing, as it helps control sports betting ads.
“We 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 Mike Mulvihill, Fox Sports executive vice president.
As the representative of a major media, Fox Sports executive vice president Mike Mulvihill said the media company is committed to offering fans a responsible and ethical way of engaging with sports betting — all while prioritizing the integrity of the games and broadcasts.
The National Council on Problem Gambling has acclaimed the coalition’s proactive efforts in safeguarding consumers in the industry. It also seeks to collaborate in addressing issues related to problem gambling.