There’s a chance Massachusetts residents will start seeing less problematic sportsbook advertising.
The top North American sporting leagues combined with NBCUniversal and FOX to form the Coalition for Responsible Sports Betting Advertising. The NFL, NBA, NHL, MLB, WNBA, NASCAR and MLS all joined.
The goal? Help spread the word on responsible gambling. That is especially important now that online sports betting in Massachusetts is legal.
What’s the coalition’s goal?
The Coalition of Responsible Sports Betting Advertising wants to ensure ads only pertain to those of legal betting age. It does not advertise excessive or irresponsible gambling habits.
Additionally, the coalition wants publishers to cooperate. It wants internal reviews of sports gambling advertisements. The Coalition of Responsible Sports Betting also wants reviews on customer complaints.
A total of 33 states — including Massachusetts — and the District of Columbia offer legalized sports betting. Massachusetts stands as one of the latest states to join the bunch, having legalized the industry in January.
“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,” the coalition said in a statement.
“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.”
Leagues to be ‘mindful’ of sportsbook advertising
Each of the major sporting leagues in North America boasts at least one official sports betting partner. For instance, the NBA’s co-official sports betting partners are DraftKings and FanDuel. The NFL boasts deals with Caesars, DraftKings and FanDuel, too.
David Highhill, the NFL’s general manager of sports betting, believes gambling offers fans “another way to engage with their favorite teams.”
“Just as we must support problem-gambling prevention and resourcing, we must also remain mindful of how sports betting is presented and advertised to customers, and this coalition should greatly aid in that cause.”
But it’s a tough line to walk, and one that requires planning.
MLB Executive VP of Media and Development Kenny Gersh reiterated Highhill’s point, emphasizing a need for “deliberate” actions.
“We have to continue to be mindful and deliberate with how these sports betting options are presented, and to whom they’re directed. Laying 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.”
Massachusetts has recently adjusted its policy on sportsbook advertising. Just this week, the Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC) opted to ban affiliate marketers from entering into revenue sharing agreements with sports betting operators. Additionally, all forms of sportsbook advertising within the state must include responsible gaming messages. And that includes billboard ads, too.
MA sportsbooks went all-out in advertisements
Sportsbook operators made sure prospective customers knew of their business once mobile betting went live in the Bay State.
The Boston Celtics’ game against the Houston Rockets on March 14 stands as a prime example. During that game, nine sportsbook commercials aired. An ad for DraftKings Massachusetts came on with betting odds before the game even tipped off. DraftKings, FanDuel and BetMGM all aired advertisements during the course of the game.
Former Massachusetts sporting legends made their appearances in various advertisements, too. Rob Gronkowski stands as one of FanDuel’s biggest faces. David Ortiz, Zdeno Chara and Brian Scalabrine all represent DraftKings.
MGC further emphasizes responsible gambling
There are plenty of links about different treatment options as well. Those tools include a voluntary self-exclusion, which allows someone to ban themselves from any Massachusetts gaming facility. There’s a helpline (1-800-327-5050), too, as well as links to the department of public health and outpatient treatment centers.
If you or a loved one is experiencing problems with gambling, call 1-800-327-5050 or visit www.mahelpline.org/problemgambling to speak with a trained specialist for free, 24/7