Sports leagues & media players team up to tackle sports betting ads

The coalition is made up of nine groups and guided by six key principles

In a bid to address the elephant in the room – sports and gambling – a host of major sports leagues and broadcasters have joined forces to set up a task force.

Named the ‘Coalition for Responsible Sports Betting Advertising’, the voluntary organization is made up of the following groups:

  • NFL
  • MLB
  • MLS
  • NBA
  • WBNA
  • NHL
  • NBCUniversal
  • FOX 

The coalition maintains it is abiding by six key principles to help ensure a responsible approach to sports betting advertising:

  1. Sports betting should be marketed only to adults of legal betting age
  2. Sports betting advertising should not promote irresponsible or excessive gambling or degrade the consumer experience
  3. Sports betting advertisements should not be misleading
  4. Sports betting advertisements should be in good taste
  5. Publishers should have appropriate internal reviews of sports betting advertising
  6. Publishers should review consumer complaints pertaining to sports betting advertising

A joint statement from the Coalition for Responsible Sports Betting Advertising read: “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.

“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.”

Most of the leagues are dominated in sheer numbers by US teams, but there is a Canadian presence in some with the likes of the Toronto Raptors (NBA) and the Toronto Blue Jays (MLB), and especially in MLS with Vancouver Whitecaps, Montreal Impact, and Toronto FC.

The news follows a recent proposal by the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) which outlined plans to ban the use of athletes in gaming marketing and advertising.

The AGCO is currently engaging with stakeholders over the matter and accepting comments until May. 8.

Regarding this coalition, however, Catherine MacLeod, President and CEO of thinkTV – the clearing house for approval of TV ads in Canada – told Gaming News Canada that the organization hasn’t heard from any of the coalition’s members.

Rogers Sports & Media, meanwhile, said: “There have been no formal discussions, but Rogers Sports & Media works closely with the AGCO, iGaming Ontario, and our team and league partners to ensure a consistent and responsible approach to sports betting advertising. thinkTV is instrumental in leading this collaboration with the governing bodies and clears all sports betting ads that air on our TV channels by applying rigorous compliance standards in accordance with iGaming Ontario.”

The coalition’s announcement included further statements from individual leagues/bodies.

Chris Schlosser, Senior Vice President, Emerging Ventures at MLS, commented: “As betting on soccer continues to have a strong presence around the world, it becomes increasingly imperative to educate the fans about responsible gambling. A big part of this is how sports betting is marketed and promoted. That’s why we are committed to joining this important coalition of leaders in the sports industry. This is an opportunity to work together to implement guardrails and ensure that sports betting advertising is done appropriately and thoughtfully.”

David Highhill, NFL General Manager for Sports Betting, noted: “We’re proud to join these prominent sports industry stakeholders in this important effort. Legalized sports betting offers fans another way to engage with their favorite sports, but just as we must support problem gambling prevention and resourcing, we must also remain mindful of how sports betting is presented and advertised to consumers, and this coalition should greatly aid in that cause.”

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