The NHL, NBA, and MLB have teamed with sportsbook operators FanDuel, newly launched ESPN BET, Fanatics Sportsbook, DraftKings, and the National Council on Problem Gambling (NCPG) for a new 30-second advertising spot that promotes the importance of setting limits while wagering.
The “Never Know What’s Next” ad will debut on TNT and the social media platforms of all three professional leagues during Tuesday night’s NBA In-Season Tournament game between the Cleveland Cavaliers and Philadelphia 76ers. The 30-second spot intersperses highlights of successful and unsuccessful players in all three leagues, with the narrator pointing out that virtually every play “is a risk when you bet.”
The narrator also points out that there’s “no easy money, there’s no lock, and no one wins all the time” when it comes to sports betting, with a basketball lingering over the rim after a bounce during the last sequence. At the end, the narrator reminds viewers, “If you bet, bet responsibly, and always set a limit.”
The 30-second spot also points viewers to the NCPG’s Responsible Play website, which provides educational resources on problem gambling. More than $86 billion has been wagered in the United States in 2023, and national sports wagering handle will exceed $100 billion in a calendar year for the first time since it was made legal on a state-by-state basis in 2018.
Leagues stress education and collaboration
The three major U.S. professional sports leagues stressed the importance of responsible gambling and felt working together was an innovative way to get that message across to the betting public.
“Working with our fellow sports leagues, gaming operator partners, and responsible gaming partners gives added weight — particularly for young bettors — to this shared priority of making an impact on responsible gaming education across the United States,” said Scott Kaufman-Ross, the NBA’s head of gaming and new business ventures, in a joint statement issued by the three leagues. “Ensuring fans are aware of the inherent risk if they choose to bet and correcting the misconception that betting on sports is a good way to make money are integral to the NBA’s approach to legal sports betting.”
“We’re incredibly proud to be a part of this important campaign alongside the NBA, NHL and our operator partners,” added Casey Brett, MLB’s senior vice president of business development. “It’s paramount that when our fans bet, they know how to do so responsibly — and this initiative is just one small but important part of our continued commitment to ensuring sports betting stays safe for all who choose to wager.”
Sign Up For The Sports Handle Newsletter!
The NHL drew scrutiny for its 41-game suspension handed down to Ottawa Senators forward Shane Pinto last month for what it called “wagering-related” activities, but the league did not specify what Pinto — the first NHL player to be suspended for gambling-related activities — did that warranted a half-season ban which was reportedly negotiated between the league and the NHL Players Association.
“This campaign continues our ongoing commitment to educating fans about the importance of responsible betting,” said Keith Wachtel, the NHL’s chief business officer. “With more fans than ever having the opportunity to legally bet in their home states, it is imperative that we work with our media and sportsbook partners, as well as with our friends at the NBA and MLB, to inform and emphasize the risks and encourage the importance of setting limits and betting responsibly, especially among our growing fan base in the younger demographic.”
For its part, the NFL entered into a similar advertising and educational partnership on its own with the NCPG two years ago.