Leagues and media type a coalition for accountable sports activities betting

Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce makes a catch for a touchdown in the first quarter after defending from Philadelphia Eagles safety Marcus Epps during Super Bowl LVII Sunday, February 12, 2023, in Glendale, Arizona.

Rich Sugg | Kansas City Star | Tribune News Service | Getty Images

The country’s top professional leagues are teaming up with some TV networks to crack down on irresponsible sports betting advertising.

The NFL, NBA, NHL, MLB, WNBA, NASCAR and MLS have joined media companies NBCUniversal and Fox to form The Coalition for Responsible Sports Betting Advertising. The coalition, led by NFL vice president for public policy and government affairs Jonathan Nabavi, aims to regulate sports betting advertising as it floods television, internet and print media.

The move comes as sports betting becomes legal in more states and opponents fear their advertising is targeting minors.

Thirty-three states and the District of Columbia have introduced legal betting markets since a landmark US Supreme Court case in 2018 paved the way for each state to offer legal sports betting.

According to the American Gaming Association, commercial sports betting revenue peaked at $7.5 billion in 2022, up nearly 75% from a record $4.3 billion in 2021.

“As the legalization of sports betting spreads across the country, we believe it is critical to establish guidelines for how sports betting should be promoted to consumers in the United States,” the coalition said in a statement on Wednesday. “Each member of the Coalition feels a responsibility to ensure that sports betting advertising is not only targeted to the appropriate audience, but that the message is carefully crafted and carefully delivered.”

The coalition describes itself as voluntary and said it will work to ensure sports betting advertising only targets adults of legal betting age; does not encourage excessive or irresponsible gambling habits; stays in good taste; and do not deceive.

The group also urges publishers to conduct appropriate internal reviews of ads and investigate consumer complaints.

“Legalized sports betting offers fans another way to engage with their favorite sports,” said David Highhill, general manager of sports betting for the NFL. “But just as we need to support problem gambling prevention and procurement, we also need to be mindful of how sports betting is presented and promoted to consumers, and this coalition should play a huge part in helping that.”

The National Council on Problem Gambling has praised the coalition and pledged to work with it to “better mitigate the harm from problem gambling”.

Disclosure: NBCUniversal is the parent company of CNBC.

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