Top pro leagues, media outlets team up to combat problematic sports-betting ads

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Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce makes a catch for a touchdown in the first quarter past Philadelphia Eagles safety Marcus Epps at Super Bowl LVII Sunday, February 12, 2023, in Glendale, Arizona.

Rich Sugg | Kansas City Star | Tribune News Service | Getty Images

The country’s top professional leagues are teaming up with some TV broadcasters to tackle irresponsible sports-betting advertising.

The NFL, NBA, NHL, MLB, WNBA, NASCAR, and MLS have formed The Coalition for Responsible Sports Betting Advertising, along with media companies NBCUniversal and Fox. The coalition, led by NFL vice president of public policy and government affairs Jonathan Nabawi, aims to regulate sports-betting advertising as it floods television, the Internet and print media.

The move comes as sports betting becomes legal in more states and opponents worry that its ads target minors.

Thirty-three states and the District of Columbia have introduced legal betting markets since a landmark 2018 US Supreme Court Case Paved the way for any state to offer legal sports betting.

In 2022, commercial sports-betting revenue is set to reach an all-time high of $7.5 billion, up nearly 75% from 2021’s record $4.3 billion, according to the American Gaming Association.

“As the legalization of sports betting spreads across the country, we feel it is important to set guardrails regarding how sports betting should be advertised to consumers across the United States,” the coalition said in a statement on Wednesday. ” “Each member of the coalition feels a responsibility to ensure that sports betting ads are not only targeted to an appropriate audience, but also that the message is thoughtfully crafted and carefully delivered.”

The coalition describes itself as voluntary and has said it will work to ensure that sports-betting ads only target adults of legal betting age; does not promote excessive or irresponsible gambling habits; remains in good taste; and is not misleading.

The group also calls on publishers to implement proper internal review of ads and review consumer complaints.

“Legitimate sports betting provides fans with another way to engage with their favorite sports,” said David Highhill, general manager of sports betting for the NFL. “But just as we must support the prevention and redress of problem-gambling, we must also be mindful of how sports betting is presented and advertised to consumers, and this coalition is for that reason. I need a lot of help.”

The National Council on Problem Gambling has commended the coalition and pledged to work closely with it to “better reduce gambling-related harm.”

Disclosure: NBCUniversal is the parent company of CNBC.