MLB has confirmed its joining the recently-formed Coalition for Responsible Sports Betting Advertising, which looks to ensure social responsibility is maintained when it comes to sports betting advertising.
The NFL, the NBA, NHL, WNBA, NASCAR and MLS, all joined MLB in the group, which has placed six key principles at its heart – looking to maintain consumer protections and safeguards.
The Coalition for Responsible Sports Betting Advertising principles are:
1. Sports betting should be marketed only to adults of legal betting age
The content of sports betting advertising, marketing and promotion should primarily appeal to individuals of legal betting age, and sports betting should never be endorsed or otherwise promoted by any person who is, or appears to be, below such legal age.
Sports betting promotional materials should (i) only appear in media where a significant majority of the audience is reasonably expected to be of legal betting age and (ii) never primarily appeal to children in content or theme.
2. Sports betting advertising should not promote irresponsible or excessive gambling or degrade the consumer experience
Sports betting advertisements should always contain a clear, prominent, responsible gaming message, including information on responsible gambling resources, and never be directed to individuals known by the advertiser to be self-excluded. Gambling advertising, promotion and other integrations that encourage irresponsible gambling or degrade the consumer experience (e.g., by appearing excessively) should also be avoided.
3. Sports betting advertisements should not be misleading
Sports betting advertisements should never be false, deceptive or misleading. For example, sports betting advertisements and marketing should not promote unrealistic expectations of financial gain, or suggest that social, financial or personal success is guaranteed by engaging in sports betting. Nor should any such messaging state or imply that a bet is without risk if the customer must incur any loss, or risk the customer’s own money, to use or withdraw winnings from such bet.
4. Sports betting advertisements should be in good taste
Sports betting advertisements should (i) adhere to contemporary standards of good taste applicable to all commercial messaging, taking into consideration the applicable medium and advertising context and (ii) never undermine public perception of sports or their integrity.
5. Publishers should have appropriate internal reviews of sports betting advertising
Publishers showing sports betting advertising should (i) provide appropriate training to their relevant employees regarding responsible sports betting advertising policies and (ii) implement internal processes to ensure compliance with such policies. To the extent possible, such processes should include a separate review of advertising and marketing materials by company employees outside the marketing and sponsorship departments.
6. Publishers should review consumer complaints pertaining to sports betting advertising
Publishers showing sports betting advertising should develop and implement a process to review consumer complaints pertaining to that advertising.
MLB executive vice president, media & business development, Kenny Gersh commented: “Forming this coalition with fellow leaders in sports and entertainment is another important step for our industry as legal sports betting continues to grow.
“While providing new fan engagement opportunities to enjoy our sport in more ways, we have to continue to be mindful and deliberate with how these sports betting options are presented and to whom they’re directed. Layering 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.”
Keith Wachtel, NHL chief business officer, added: “As more sports fans have the opportunity to legally and responsibly bet in their home states, the fan experience continues to be one of our utmost priorities. We are proud to be part of this coalition of leagues and media entities to publicly state our ongoing commitment — with our partners — to promoting responsible advertising for sports betting.”
Many elements of the principles elaborated upon in the statement sync up with the American Gaming Association’s Responsible Marketing Code for Sports Wagering, which were recently updated to prohibit terms like risk-free and expressly condemning sportsbooks partnering with colleges.
The AGA also came out and backed the move: “We applaud the responsible advertising commitments announced today by many of America’s biggest players in sports entertainment.
“Closely mirroring commitments already made by AGA members through our recently updated Responsible Marketing Code for Sports Wagering, these efforts reflect a shared prioritization of responsible gaming and consumer protection. Building a sustainable legal wagering market requires alignment from the entire sports betting ecosystem, and today’s announcement is another important step,” said AGA SVP Casey Clark.
The coalition does go a step further than the AGA and calls for publishers and not just operators to establish a framework for vetting advertising before rolling it out that includes appropriate training and clearly delineated processes. There should also be a formalised feedback loop for consumer concerns and complaints.