The American Gaming Association marked the one-year anniversary of the SCOTUS ruling that allows states to legalize land based and online casino sports betting with a set of self-regulations on marketing & advertising.
In May 2018 the Supreme Court ruled that the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 – a congressional act that outlawed sports betting in most of the United States – was illegal. The SCOTUS ruling meant that individual states can now legislate and regulate sports betting in their own states.
Over the last year the sports betting landscape in the United States has resembled the Wild West. Each state makes its own regulations – to allow sports betting, to allow only land-based sports betting, to allow land-based plus online betting, to allow sports betting at tribal casinos only or not to allow sports betting at all. Operators have been asking for some guidance in codifying sports betting standards nationwide.
To mark the one-year anniversary of the overturn of PASPA, the American Gaming Association has released a new set of self-regulations that will govern how betting operators market and advertise their sports betting operations. The AGA developed its code in coordination with association members and that code will now become part of the accepted Responsible Gaming Code of Conduct.
The new code includes self-imposed restrictions on materials’ branding and target audiences outlets. It mandates responsible gaming inclusion. The code’s tenets apply to both traditional media and digital media marketing activity.
Bill Miller, president and CEO of the AGA, explained the need for the new code. "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. 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. We are setting a high bar for sports betting advertising and will continue to ensure that everyone involved in the expansion of legalized sports betting across the country – gaming operators, sports leagues and teams, broadcasters and other businesses – rise to this standard."
The American Gaming Association represents the $261 billion casino industry in the United States. AGA members include gaming suppliers, tribal and commercial casino operators and other entities associated with the gaming industry. The AGA was established with the goal of achieving sound regulations and policies consistent the industry, to unify industry members and as a voice for gambling operators nationwide.
The AGA felt that, with the introduction of sports betting, the time had come to update the association’s code to include, sports betting. The breadth of business interests engaged in the sports betting world has expanded significantly since PASPA was overturned and the AGA feels that it is responsible to maintain a code of contract that obligates members to discourage illegal gambling, discourage gambling among minors, ban for-profit promotion of illegal, offshore operators and promote responsible gambling practices.
Over the past year, over $8 billion was legally wagered on sports nationwide. Of that, $5 was in Nevada, where sports betting has been legal since the 1940s and was grandfathered in to allow for legal sports wagering under PASPA. During the past year $55.3 million was generated in new state and local tax revenue from sports betting nationwide.
The AGA updated its code due to the rapid expansion of legal sports betting markets across the United States. To date, it’s legal to offer single-game legal sports betting in nine state while six additional states, plus the District of Columbia, have authorized legal markets. Over a dozen additional states have introduced legislation to legalize and regulate sports betting and are waiting for their state legislatures to approve the bills.
In its new code, the AGA writes “because legalized wagering on sporting contests is a relatively new activity in most states, AGA is extending its compliance commitments to answer fresh concerns that might arise with it.”
Some of the highlights of the new code include members’ obligation to:
- Respect the legal age for sports wagering and ensure that no sports betting message be designed to appeal primarily to those below the legal age for sports wagering.
- Support responsible gaming using messages that don’t promote irresponsible or excessive participation in sports wagering. No message should suggest that financial, personal or social success is guaranteed by engaging in sports wagering.
- Adhere to the AGA’s Best Practices for Anti-Money Laundering Compliance.
- Refrain from placing messages in cable, radio, print or digital broadcasts where more than 25 percent of the population is not expected to be of legal gambling age.
- Include a responsible gaming message and a link to a site that provides information about responsible gaming and responsible gaming services in any marketing message.
- Include a reminder about the legal age for sports wagering in any sports betting content including social media pages and sites.
- Include geolocation mechanisms on webpages and social media pages where individuals can engage in gambling so as to screen any individuals who reside in jurisdictions that don’t have legalized sports wagering.
- Respect user privacy in all digital marketing communications.
- Respect user privacy and comply with all applicable legal privacy requirements in all communications.
- Provide the option to opt out or unsubscribe in all communications.
- Disclose, in any communications, any practices of the website that involve sharing user information with third parties.