On Wednesday, October 20, the National Football League announced the launch of an extensive league-wide responsible gambling program designed for public awareness and education in collaboration with the National Council on Problem Gambling (NCPG). The NFL is reportedly committing $6.2 million to this initiative to limit the potentially harmful social effects of its growing involvement with the massive sports betting industry.
NFL and Sports Betting Growth
In 2018, the United States Supreme Court made a landmark ruling to allow states to determine the legality of sports betting individually. A few years later, 26 states plus the District of Columbia now have legal, regulated sports betting. Several more have pending legislation or legal status but are awaiting final regulations. The NFL is the most prominent sports betting draw in the United States; through the first four weeks of the season, betting transactions were up 122% per GeoComply data.
According to the American Gaming Association, more than 45 million Americans have said they plan to bet on NFL games this year, up 36% from last year. According to Christopher Halpin, vice president, chief strategy, and growth officer for the NFL, 17% of NFL fans aged 21 and over describe themselves as frequent sports bettors, and 30% describe themselves as casual bettors or aspirational bettors.
The NFL has partnered with several sportsbooks, including Caesars, DraftKings, and FanDuel. At the same time, FOX Bet, BetMGM, PointsBet, and WynnBET are all Approved Sportsbook Operators who can purchase in-game commercials and other media inventory. These sportsbooks are spending millions of dollars on advertising in partnership with the NFL. In addition, PointsBet has an official partnership with NBC, a leading broadcast partner of the NFL, while FOX Bet is connected to Fox Sports.
Sports betting is becoming more mainstream and is now a regular part of the NFL viewing experience. All of the NFL’s official sports betting partners have responsible gaming initiatives and will be a crucial part of the new league-wide initiative. Caesars, DraftKings, and FanDuel have all agreed to help get the word out about the NCPG’s new website.
What Does the NFL’s Initiative Include?
The NFL’s initiative in partnership with the NCPG has a direct message of “Stick to Your Game Plan. Always Bet Responsibly.” According to the NFL website, the goal is to help bettors stick to a game plan, set a budget in advance, use licensed, regulated operators, and feel comfortable asking for help if needed. The initiative is also looking to help young people, including those under the legal gambling age of 21 years old, to curb any potential problem gambling before the behavior fully develops.
The NCPG is launching a new website, ResponsiblePlay.org, which will provide bettors with tips about safe betting and help services for those in need. The website will also have a live online chat available 24/7, 365 days a year. According to Keith Whyte, executive director of the NCPG, about 2% of the United States population has a gambling problem. About 5% of individuals who have gambled within the last 12 months fall into that category.
The NFL’s responsible betting initiative will begin this week and will be rolled out across several channels, including online, in-stadium, social media, and traditional print. National and local television broadcasts of NFL games will run the NCPG’s program in the coming months, as will related media channels. The NPGC is committed to addressing problem gambling through public education and resources. A partnership with the NFL is a massive step in the right direction towards curbing problem gambling in the country.
Image from the NFL website