The American Gaming Association on Tuesday unveiled a set of guidelines it believes will help market sports betting to U.S. audiences in a responsible manner.
Entitled “Responsible Marketing Code for Sports Wagering,” the AGA worked with its members to develop the document, which includes a number of limits put in place regarding target demographics and how a sportsbook’s brand should be used.
The code, the AGA said in a release, focuses on marketing endeavors in traditional and digital media.
Specifically, the members agree that sports betting promotions should only target those old enough to place a wager and encourage those individuals to partake responsibly. In most states, that means adults 21 or older, although in some states, like Rhode Island, the legal age is 18.
To accomplish that, AGA members have agreed to not use cartoon characters or messaging that would appeal to children. They also agreed to not place advertising in outlets targeted for children, including social media applications. No gambling logos should appear on children’s clothing or toys, and sports betting advertisements should not be placed on college campuses or media outlets.
Beyond not promoting underage betting, AGA member companies also will promote moderation in their advertising and publish a toll-free helpline number whenever possible. The members also agreed to develop their messaging using “good taste” standards.
Regarding digital media, members pledged to share the names and addresses of their Web pages with parental control software makers. Social media and web sites need to include a reminder of the legal betting age. Web sites also need to employ geolocation applications to restrict participation from individuals living where sports betting is illegal.
AGA ‘Committed’ to Curb Illegal Betting
Members agreed to deliver a copy of the code to their third-party marketing and advertising firms. They also will develop internal review strategies to ensure compliance.
In addition to preventing underage and irresponsible gaming, the members also see the code as a way to discourage other forms of illegal gaming, including the promotion of offshore sportsbooks.
For several years, the gaming industry has been committed to driving the illegal market out of business for the benefit of consumers, state and local economies and the integrity of both games and bets,” said Bill Miller, AGA president and CEO, in a statement. “The gaming industry has an obligation to extend our decades-long commitment to responsibility to this growing sector, and that’s exactly what this effort codifies.”
The association also announced it would provide training opportunities for members to help with compliance on these guidelines.
Not Far Enough?
While gaming industry analysts and experts saw the guidelines as a positive step for the industry, some did note that the guidelines did not specifically call out television advertising.
Last month, the holding company that owns Ladbrokes and Coral sportsbooks called for a total ban on sports betting advertising during sporting events, with the exception of horse racing. The call by GVC Holdings PLC went a step further than a ban agreed to late last year that only prohibited sports betting ads during live sporting events when children were most likely to watch.
“Fair to say the new AGA code on responsible gambling… doesn’t really come close to tackling the issues that arose in Europe,” tweeted Alun Bowden, a senior consultant for gaming research firm Eilers & Krejcik. “They actually seem to be a lite version of current restrictions in the UK.”
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