AGA Launches New Marketing Code, William Hill to Oversee It

The American Gaming Association (AGA) has introduced a new binding code of conduct that sets new standards for responsible advertisement among the organization’s members, and specifically for their sportsbook product.

According to AGA’s code of conduct, entitled Responsible Marketing Code for Sports Wagering, messages may not promote irresponsible or excessive participation in sports betting contests.

In addition, AGA’s rules now state that each ad should have a responsible gambling message and provide information about a toll-free help line where it can be done “practically”.

Catching up to advertisement standards in the United Kingdom, the code specifically focuses on protecting minors from gambling ads. The code states that ads cannot feature personalities from the entertainment industry or music that targets audiences below the legal age within each jurisdiction.

AGA specified that sports betting messages may not be “licensed for use on clothing, toys, games, or game equipment intended primarily for persons below the legal age for sports wagering.”

Similarly, sports wagering incentives cannot be promoted or advertised on university or college campuses, especially now that some institutions of higher learning have objected to sports wagering on collegiate events.

In the meantime, PointsBet, which is not an AGA member, has signed a landmark partnership with the University of Colorado Buffaloes. The move was necessitated by falling revenue for the athletics program and was approved by the university and sports directors.

Ensuring Objectivity by Involving Operators and Independent Co-Chairs

In setting the standards for advertisement in the United States, AGA insisted that operators must meet what it described as “contemporary standards for good taste.” To ensure that these new standards are met, AGA has launched a Code Compliance Review Board, which will involve independent co-chairs and five AGA executives who will seek to enforce compliance with the new rules.

Each member will serve a three-year term on the newly-formed review board before they are replaced to guarantee objectivity. AGA’s new regulatory arm will flag messages and advertisement it believes to be detrimental and against the code of conduct.

UNLV International Center for Gaming Regulation executive director Joe Bertolone and Becky Harris, a fellow at the UNLV International Gaming Institute, will be the first two co-chairs to serve.

Meanwhile, AGA has already announced the names of the members who will sit during the first stint of the regulatory body. They involve big names from the gaming industry including:

  • Rush Street Gaming VP of Regulatory Compliance & Legal McAllister Cox
  • MGM Resorts International SVP & Chief Compliance Officer Stephen Martino
  • William Hill Chief Marketing Officer Sharon Otterman
  • Hard Rock VP for Global Social Responsibility Paul Pellizzari
  • Penn National Gaming VP & Chief Compliance Officer Chris Soriano

All AGA members will also be engaged with raising awareness for the code and distributing a copy between advertising agencies, affiliates, and any media companies assisting gambling firms to promote their products.

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