Three of the four major US sports leagues have launched a new safer gambling campaign, titled ‘Never Know What’s Next’, in partnership with a range of sportsbook partners.

The NBA, NHL and MLB jointly launched the initiative today in coordination with the National Council on Problem Gambling, with the advert making its debut during the Cleveland Cavaliers vs Philadelphia 76ers basketball match broadcast on TNT.

A central aim of the campaign is to put across the message that betting should be treated solely as a form of entertainment. Significant areas of focus for the campaign include encouraging betting limits and playing within a bettor’s means.

Scott Kaufman-Ross, NBA Senior Vice President Head of Gaming; New Business Ventures, said: “Working with our fellow sports leagues, gaming operator partners, and responsible gaming partners gives added weight – particularly for young bettors – to this shared priority of making an impact on responsible gaming education across the United States.

“Ensuring fans are aware of the inherent risk if they choose to bet and correcting the misconception that betting on sports is a good way to make money are integral to the NBA’s approach to legal sports betting.”

Sports betting has grown at a rapid pace in the US over the past five years since the PASPA legislation – which prohibited the practice and widely limited the industry – was repealed in 2018.

Mirroring a trend seen in long-established markets such as Europe, the following five years saw bookmakers sign sponsorship and marketing arrangements with sports leagues, teams and players across the US.

As it stands, betting is now legal in 36 US states plus Washington DC and high-profile operators have partnered with the most high-profile sports leagues – for example, the NBA has signed sponsorship deals with FanDuel and DraftKings, whilst the MLB has a deal with Bally’s Corporation.

Also in line with European developments, North American sports betting marketing and sponsorship has seen an increased focus on promoting safer gambling as part of commercial arrangements, such as the newly announced ‘Never Know What’s Next’ campaign.

As well as the National Council on Problem Gambling, the campaign has also received the support of the aforementioned operators DraftKings and FanDuel, as well as Fanatics Sportsbook and ESPN Bet parent group PENN Entertainment.

Casey Brett, MLB Senior Vice President, Business Development, remarked: “We’re incredibly proud to be a part of this important campaign alongside the NBA, NHL and our operator partners.

“It’s paramount that when our fans bet, they know how to do so responsibly – and this initiative is just one small but important part of our continued commitment to ensuring sports betting stays safe for all who choose to wager.”

Set to be promoted across the NBA, MLB and NHL’s social channels, as well as during the aforementioned Cavaliers vs 76ers game, ‘Never Know What’s Next’ – as its name suggests – hammers home the point that sport is always unpredictable, and so a bet can never be certain.

“This campaign continues our ongoing commitment to educating fans about the importance of responsible betting,” commented Keith Wachtel, NHL Chief Business Officer.

“With more fans than ever having the opportunity to legally bet in their home states, it is imperative that we work with our media and sportsbook partners, as well as with our friends at the NBA and MLB, to inform and emphasise the risks and encourage the importance of setting limits and betting responsibly, especially among our growing fanbase in the younger demographic.”

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