The National Football League is putting its money on responsible sports betting education and resources with a new $6.2 million campaign.
As the availability of legal sports betting expands (including in Louisiana), so does increased problem gambling. According to Christopher Halpin, the league’s executive vice president, chief strategy and growth officer, the NFL’s extensive public awareness campaign, launched in October, “is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to teach them (the casual bettor) what responsible betting looks like.”
The league’s 3-year campaign will include broadcast, print, and social media outreach as well as in-game and in-stadium messaging. The messaging centers on bet-budgeting and limit-setting, betting with licensed and regulated operators, understanding the workings of sports betting, and accessing help if needed.
The slogan is “Stick to Your Game Plan. Always Bet Responsibly.”
Halpin would like the sports and betting industries to ensure that public education and support programs match sports gambling growth state by state. That may happen thanks to the NFL. The goal of the multiyear, multimillion-dollar partnership expansion with the National Council on Problem Gambling (NCPG) is to “help develop a sustainable and safer sports betting ecosystem.”
A website, www.responsibleplay.org, is already operating.
The league’s Official Sports Betting Partners (Caesars Entertainment, FanDuel, and DraftKings) have developed responsible betting programs of their own and share info with and support efforts by the NFL.
Sometimes a game isn’t a game
The American Gaming Association, the trade group for the national casino industry, reports a 36% increase of sports betting Americans since last year.
The NCPG estimates 2 million problem gamblers in the U.S.
Keith Whyte, NCPG executive director, has seen a need for compulsive gambling treatment and prevention take shape since the 2018 Supreme Court case that opened the doors nationally to legalized sports wagering.
“We think the risk has doubled since then,” Whyte commented.
Responsible Gaming campaign: “Awareness, Education, Support”
Whyte called the NFL an “example for other professional sports leagues” as an industry leader for increasing awareness. He further praised the football league’s initiative as “far-reaching.”
With nearly budget-doubling funding provided by the NFL, the D.C.-based NCPG can upgrade its nationwide helpline and run a national grant program. This program will, in turn, fund services offered by providers at the local and state levels, such as creating or enhancing treatment programs.
“Agility Grants” may be provided to nonprofits, community organizations, and state affiliates of the NCPG. The grants would fund creating and implementing innovative problem-gambling programs. Furthermore, extended plans feature youth outreach, certification training, a PSA, and technology to upgrade the current 24/7 call center at 1-800-522-4700.
“We will be able to help so many more people because of this,” Whyte noted.
A league of their own: NFL official sports betting partners
Caesars Entertainment launched “Operation Bet Smart” and “Project 21” programs in the 1980s, making it the first U.S. casino to promote responsible gaming. The company launched the nation’s first toll-free gambling helpline in 1995. For more information about their current responsible gambling programs, visit www.Caesars.com/rg.
Sports betting in Louisiana
Louisiana sports bettors can currently participate at these nine casinos:
- L’Auberge, Baton Rouge
- Boomtown Casino, Horseshoe, and Margaritaville, Bossier City
- Golden Nugget and L’Auberge, Lake Charles
- Paragon Casino Resort, Marksville
- Boomtown and Harrah’s, New Orleans
NFL V.P. Halpin has stressed the importance of learning from more mature international betting markets. For example, this might include following other countries’ policies of avoiding advertising oversaturation. “Sports betting is supposed to be fun,” he’s said.