June 1, 2023

Pro Leagues Coalition Provides Firewall For US Sports Betting Ads

Professional sports leagues and media outlets are uniting to defeat an emerging rival. 

In an effort to combat out-of-bounds advertising of the US sports betting industry, a coalition was formed to act as a watchdog, It intends to not only ensure responsible behavior by athletes, but by front-office personnel, too. 

It may be too late for the Detroit Lions, but the newly formed Coalition for Responsible Sports Betting Advertising could provide a much-needed firewall to athletes and staffers.

New Betting Coalition To Act By 6 Core Objectives

Initiated by NFL Vice President of Public Policy and Government Affairs Jonathan Nabavi, the coalition consists of representatives from the NFL, MLB, NBA, NHL, NASCAR, MLS and WNBA. Media outlets include reps from Fox and NBCUniversal. 

The coalition will act by six principal sports betting policies, according to a tweet:  

  • Marketing should only target individuals of legal betting age.
  • Advertising should avoid promoting irresponsible or excessive wagering.
  • Ads should be straight-forward and not be misleading.
  • Ads should be upstanding.
  • Publishers should responsibly review industry advertising.
  • Publishers should remain keen on consumer complaints toward ads.

“Legalized sports betting offers fans another way to engage with their favorite sports, but just as we must support problem gambling prevention and resourcing, we must also remain mindful of how sports betting is presented and advertised to consumers,” NFL General Manager of Sports Betting David Highhill said via press release. “This coalition should greatly aid in that cause.”

Perhaps the coalition will better educate players. The Coalition for Responsible Sports Betting Advertising announced its formation on Wednesday. But it wasn’t in time to help five NFL players, including four from Detroit and one from Washington. The suspended NFL players violated the league’s betting policy.

4 Lions Face NFL-Imposed Suspensions For Gambling  

Lions wide receivers Jameson Williams and Stanley Berryhill on Friday each received six-game suspensions. They received the penalties for making mobile wagers on non-NFL teams in one of the team’s buildings. Ex-Lions reserves Quintez Cephus and C.J. Moore faced indefinite suspensions for betting on NFL games. The Lions subsequently waived both players and fired several unnamed staffers. The Commanders’ Shaka Toney also was drew an indefinite suspension.

“These players exhibited decision-making that is not consistent with our organizational values and violates league rules,” Lions General Manager Brad Holmes said in a statement. 

The suspended Lions were the first in the organization to be disciplined for gambling in 60 years. An eventual Hall of Famer, Alex Karras received a one-year suspension in 1963 for wagering on NFL games. 

Since the 2018 ruling, 33 states and the District of Columbia has introduced legalized sports betting opportunities. In 2019, sportsbooks aired $21.4 million in national television commercials. Last year, the amount spiked to $314 million, according to iSpot.tv.

The Coalition for Responsible Sports Betting Advertising is not the lone group acting to keep the fledgling industry in control. US Rep. Paul Tonko (D-K.Y.) is sponsoring the Betting on Our Future Act, which ESPN.com reported, intends to “reel in the problematic rise of predatory advertising by sports gambling companies.”