The American Gaming Association (AGA) has updated its sports betting marketing code for advertisements. With that, terms like “risk-free bets” are no longer to be used in marketing. Risk-free terms have already begun being barred in states like Ohio and Massachusetts. This update in the marketing code reflects a tonal shift in the U.S. betting market.
Additional updates include prohibiting college advertising partnerships, barring NIL deals between sportsbooks and amateur athletes, and requiring (21+) to be included in all sports betting advertising.
AGA’s New Set Of Rules Explained
The changes in best practices for sports betting marketing are effective immediately with a grace period in place. Sportsbook operators have until July 1, 2023 to implement these changes in their advertising. It is still left to state regulators to adopt these standards and enforce them. We have already seen some states levy fines for violations of its sports betting laws. The AGA does not have that authority.
“Established in 2019, AGA’s Responsible Marketing Code reflects the commitment of our members to set and adhere to a high bar for responsible advertising,” said Bill Miller, AGA President and CEO. “Today’s updates advance that commitment and represent our intention to protect consumers and evolve our standards as this nascent market matures.”
This update can be viewed as a direct response to the change across the nation. Several markets have already begun implementing these changes through legislation and operators have begun internally implementing them as a result.
- Related: BetMGM’s Responsible Gaming Pledge
Risk-Free Language Removal
Looking at the banning of risk-free verbiage in advertising, lawmakers have made it clear that the terminology is dishonest. Many of the promotions require bettors to wager a set amount or deposit real money to access the promo. The fact that real money must be staked to access the promotion makes the use of risk-free inaccurate.
Sportsbooks have begun using terms like bet credits and bonus bets as a substitute. This is expected to become the standard across all operators in the near future.
Prohibiting Collegiate Advertising
The strong focus on college-age audiences being influenced by sportsbooks is another major factor of the update. The American Gaming Association update states: Prohibiting college partnerships that promote, market or advertise sports wagering activity (other than to alumni networks or content focused on responsible gaming initiatives or problem gambling awareness).
Several sportsbooks have deals with athletic departments and regulators have voiced their concerns about this. Most college students are under the age required for legal sports betting in most states. Despite this, students can see sportsbook ads marketed to them on campus. With this new rule, sportsbooks will be no longer allowed to use these marketing tactics.
The NIL sportsbook deals ban also aims to prevent collegiate athletes from advertising gambling to their younger audiences. Per the update: Prohibiting sportsbook NIL deals for amateur and college athletes. This aims to further separate students from gambling ads.
- Adding age restrictions (21+) for any individual featured in sports betting advertising.
- Changing all references to the “legal age of wagering” to 21-plus.
- Formalizing an annual process for reviewing and updating the Code.