In a decision that could exert pressure on competitors, BetMGM has announced it will include prominent messaging about responsible gaming in its sports betting ads. The decision comes on the eve of Problem Gambling Awareness Month in March, as well as days before the launch of online sportsbooks in Massachusetts.
Starting March 1, the company will run responsible gambling messages in its BetMGM Sportsbook app, as well as within TV and online advertising for the first time.
Many sports betting operators show 1-800 numbers for problem gaming resources, but only briefly in advertising campaigns.
BetMGM’s decision is the first effort by a sports betting operator to be conspicuous about responsible gaming and the need to commit to education and awareness of problem gambling resources in an advertising campaign.
Massachusetts online sports betting will launch on March 10. The BetMGM app will go live in MA that day. Retail sportsbooks, including the BetMGM Sportsbook at MGM Springfield, launched in the state on Jan. 31.
Sportsbooks advertising motives under scrutiny
The campaign to elevate the status of responsible gaming advocacy comes at a time when sportsbooks are under scrutiny for marketing tactics in some jurisdictions.
A congressman from New York recently introduced a bill in the US House of Representatives to ban electronic and online advertising of sports gambling. In the past three years, more than a dozen states have launched sports betting. That typically leads to a slew of advertisements aimed at new customers.
“We are committed to leading the industry in promoting responsible gaming,” BetMGM CEO Adam Greenblatt said in a press release. “Which is why we’re announcing this unprecedented pledge to spotlight responsible gaming messaging in our advertising.”
BetMGM, which will operate as BetMGM Massachusetts in the Commonwealth, has pledged to increase its marketing efforts for responsible gaming to include billboards, signage inside sports arenas, radio and print. The campaign will roll out in the US and Canada.
BetMGM is one of the leading sports betting operators in North America and available in 20 states.
Teaming with GameSense for responsible gaming awareness
BetMGM has partnered with GameSense, a gaming program platform that MGM resorts and casinos also use. In a press release, BetMGM said GameSense is dedicated to “positive, transparent, and proactive conversations with players about how to gamble responsibly.”
“With the continued growth of sports betting and iGaming, it’s imperative that our industry remain committed to supporting the best interests of our guests and customers,” MGM Resorts CEO and President Bill Hornbuckle said.
This isn’t the first time BetMGM acted proactively to lead in the area of responsible gaming. Last November, the company funded a grant to the The International Center for Responsible Gaming so that organization could perform research into the impact of advertising on problem gambling.