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AGA Marketing Code Officially Comes into Force

The American Gaming Association (AGA) has implemented a new marketing code, which will serve to ensure that sportsbooks in the US promote their offerings in a responsible manner. 

This new code is called the ‘Responsible Marketing Code for Sports Wagering’ and will be overseen by five AGA member representatives, as well as two independent co-chairs. 

The association is launching it as part of Responsible Gaming Education Week (RGEW), which runs through until September 19th. 

Should players and industry stakeholders deem certain operators to not be complying with the code, they will have the opportunity to notify the association about this.

What is included in the AGA’s marketing code?

Operators will be banned from using messaging in their ads that suggests that people can improve their financial situation through betting on sports. Moreover, all ads will need to include a mandatory responsible gambling message. Where possible, a toll-free number – where those suffering from gambling issues can seek help – should also be visible. 

In addition to the above, advertising must not promote excessive sports betting in any way, shape or form. To keep the appeal of betting on sports low for those who are not old enough to do so, well-known individuals with a large minor audience must also not feature on ads. Operators are also responsible for not targeting their promotions towards minors on social media. 

AGA members are also not allowed to promote gambling messages at college or university campuses, nor should these be “licensed for use on clothing, toys, games, or game equipment intended primarily for persons below the legal age for sports wagering”. It’s worth noting that Pointsbet is not a member of the association, which means that it does not need to comply with the code and its partnership with the University of Colorado Buffaloes is fine. 

Along with not encouraging ideas that wealth can be achieved through wagering on sports, operators must also refrain from suggesting that it can boost social status or contribute to personal success. 

How will AGA members be monitored for compliance?

The marketing code will be overlooked by a Code Compliance Review Board. This will consist of: 

– Joe Bertolone, Executive Director, UNLV International Center for Gaming Regulation (co-chair);

– Becky Harris, Distinguished Fellow in Gaming, UNLV International Gaming Institute (co-chair);

– Laura McAllister Cox, Vice President of Regulatory Compliance & Legal Counsel, Rush Street Gaming;

– Stephen Martino, Senior Vice President & Chief Compliance Officer, MGM Resorts International;

– Sharon Otterman, Chief Marketing Officer, William Hill;

– Paul Pellizzari, Vice President, Global Social Responsibility, Hard Rock;

– Chris Soriano, Vice President & Chief Compliance Officer, Penn National Gaming.

If consumers or industry stakeholders suspect an operator of foul play, they can report this via AmericanGaming.org. 

“Perfect opportunity”

AGA President and CEO Bill Miller mentioned how RGEW 2020 was the ideal time to launch this new marketing code, which will serve as an addition to official state regulations. His words were as follows. 

“Responsible Gaming Education Week provides a perfect opportunity to launch this important initiative, holding everyone accountable to a standard set by responsible operators.

“By adhering to this code, US sports betting operators are putting consumers first, and I’m thankful to the distinguished industry representatives on the compliance review board who will help raise the bar for the marketing of sports betting activity in the United States.”

Promoting responsible sports betting becoming more important in the US

In 2020, sports betting has spread across the US as more jurisdictions have chosen to take advantage of PASPA’s repeal and regulate the vertical. Some of those that have launched their markets include Colorado, Illinois and the capital, Washington DC. Tennessee’s sports wagering market is expected to go live during the NFL season, while residents in Louisiana will have the opportunity to say yes to legalizing sports betting in their parish on the November 3rd ballot. 

In the midst of expanded sports betting, the AGA has recently revealed that a rise in unregulated NFL betting is expected this season. In the past, Miller has said on multiple occasions that educating players about where they can bet safely must be a priority for the country’s industry. 

The AGA’s theme for RGEW 2020 is ‘Have A Game Plan.™ Bet Responsibly’. This will aim to inform both beginners and seasoned professionals about how they can enjoy wagering without putting themselves in danger. 

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