On Thursday night, the National Football League (NFL) launched its first sports betting public service announcement during the Dallas Cowboys game against the New Orleans Saints. The 30-second PSA featured former NFL head coach Steve Mariucci expressing the NFL’s core responsible gaming message: “Stick to your game plan.” Always bet responsibly. The NFL plans to air this PSA once during each game broadcast, although the frequency may vary and new versions are expected to be introduced prior to the start of the playoffs.
NFL Partnership with the National Council on Problem Gambling
The NFL has maintained its commitment to keeping consumers safe while using sports betting as a vehicle to drive engagement and audiences. In-game PSAs are just one part of the initiative to create a safer sports betting ecosystem in the United States, and on October 20, the NFL announced an extensive responsible gaming program at league wide in partnership with the National Council on Problem Gambling (NCPG). The NFL provided $ 6.2 million in grants to the NCPG, the largest grant ever made to the nonprofit organization founded in 1972. As part of the partnership, the NFL is launching ResponsiblePlay.org, a website where sports bettors can learn about gambling liability and problem gambling.
Sports betting envisions the future of advertising
If you’ve noticed a dissonance between the NFL’s responsible gaming PSA mixed in between a flood of sportsbook ads, you weren’t alone. Sports betting has started to express concern about the potential for backlash against the exponential increase in advertising volume. The NFL currently allows no more than six sports betting ads per game, less than some other industries, but viewers are more sensitive to betting advertising. No sportsbook currently ranks among the top ten consumers of advertising in the NFL, but industry leaders have always argued about the need for self-regulation.
At the SBC North America Summit this week, many industry leaders discussed this issue. Brad Miller, president of the American Gaming Association, has called the current level of sports betting advertising an “unsustainable arms race.” Joe Asher, president of sports betting for International Game Technology, warned of a potential “backlash” over the “excessive amount” of advertising. Many sportsbooks are exploring future options for alternative streaming options with gaming-centric ancillary streams. FuboTV, for example, is leading the charge with an innovative integration between sports betting and streaming.
Potential disadvantages of advertising
Currently, sports betting is mostly free to manage its advertising during broadcasts, in stadiums and through other activations as they see fit. However, this is not the case in Europe, which has a much more developed sports betting industry. In the UK, teams are subject to a whistle-to-whistle ban on sports betting advertising during broadcasts. In Italy, no gaming property is allowed to advertise its products. In Spain, sports betting is prohibited from advertising on jerseys or in stadium names, and advertising on games during broadcasts is limited to the hours of 1 a.m. to 5 a.m.
Sports betting would certainly like to maintain a free market approach to sports betting advertising, but the government might have more pressure to step in if problem gambling becomes a major concern. In this sense, sports betting properties have as much incentive as anyone to promote responsible gambling initiatives. NFL PSAs will continue to be a part of broadcasts going forward, and we should expect the league to continue to find innovative ways to leverage its partnership with the NCPG and protect its consumers. .