February 6, 2023 2 min read


NBA Wants to Stamp out “Risk-Free” Gambling Promotions

The concept of “risk-free” wager has been assailed by punters, regulators, and concerned stakeholders who have seen it as misleading from the start

Whether because of inexperience or greed, the concept of “risk-free” wagers has permeated sports betting in the United States since the country regulated the activity on a federal level in 2018.

The NBA Opts Out of “Risk-Free” Wagers

Now, the National Basketball Association (NBA) has become the latest organization to oppose the concept and call for its ban. The association is going to remove the mentions of “risk-free” wagers from any of its media and advertisement channels, arguing that this definition is erroneous and misleading.

First reported by Sports Business Journal last week, the development reflects a state of maturity and increasing awareness of responsible gambling in the United States. Commenting on this change, NBA representative Scott Kaufman-Ross spoke to the Journal and said that the wording was problematic from the point of view of problem gambling.

“It’s important that we be clear with our fans that sports betting carries inherent risk,” Kaufman-Ross explained for the Journal. Therefore, the removal of risk-free betting concepts has been removed from the language used in the bonuses distributed by the NBA and its partners, at least on official channels.

“Risk-free” is a concept that is de facto misleading. The initial reaction by consumers is to think that if they were to bet $50, they would have no way of losing it. This is not true. The risk-free wager essentially tells you that if you lose your $50 the first time, you will have a second chance – “to win,” but this also means – a second chance to lose.

Out with the Risk-Free Betting Cliché

The argument goes that vulnerable gamblers may get hooked on the words and incentivize their spending, which is bad for maintaining a healthy betting industry. This opposition against the term has happened on several levels – with both regulators and operators stepping in to back the measure.

Ohio, for example, completely banned the use of the terms. Massachusetts has said it will do the same and it will not allow misleading advertisements, including but not limited to “risk-free” wagers. This is an important step forward for the entire industry as stakeholders are finally realizing the importance of making the industry more sustainable and resilient to regulatory and reputational shocks by proactively eliminating the root causes of such events.


Although Fiona doesn't have a long-spanning background within the gambling industry, she is an incredibly skilled journalist who has built a strong interest in the constantly growing iGaming network. The team at GamblingNews.com is glad to have her on our roster to help deliver the best stories as soon as they hit. Aside from writing, she loves to dabble in online casino games such as slots and roulette, both for her own enjoyment and also as research to better improve her understanding of the industry.

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