AGA Kicks Off Responsible Gambling Week With New Sports Betting Guidelines

Written By Bart Shirley on August 6, 2018 - Last Updated on December 4, 2023
printed out house rules

Sports betting’s triumphant Supreme Court victory has prompted a change from the American Gaming Association (AGA). The AGA updated its Code of Conduct for Responsible Gaming to include language about sports betting and its associated advertising.

According to a press release, the update establishes provisions to ensure that advertising for sports betting is age-appropriate and tasteful. In addition, advertisements must occur at a reasonable frequency. Per AGA Senior Vice President of Public Affairs Sara Slane:

“The American Gaming Association and its members are committed to fostering a gaming environment that focuses on education, wellbeing and responsibility. As gaming enters a new landscape, our industry is prepared to be a proactive partner in how we approach responsible gaming, highlighted today with our updated Code of Conduct that spells our obligations to our patrons, employees and communities.”

Fittingly, the update launched the AGA’s Responsible Gaming Education Week. The week will feature events, activities, and panels across the country to promote responsible gaming in all markets that host casinos or gaming establishments.

The AGA is one of the top lobbying firms for the gambling industry. Members include major casinos, tribal operations, suppliers, and other companies with interests in gaming.

What are the changes to the Code of Conduct?

The AGA Code of Conduct for Responsible Gaming is not a lengthy document. At merely five pages, it simply codifies the expectations that its members must fulfill.

Most of the changes to the code are merely additions of the phrase “sports betting company. More or less, the rules that apply to casinos now apply to sports betting operators.

So, according to the AGA rules, sports betting company members must:

  • Have an established self-exclusion policy
  • Prevent underage gambling as best they can
  • Communicate the legal age to gambling in marketing materials
  • Place marketing materials where underage people are unlikely to see it

Like most voluntary pledges, signatories are on the honor system. So, there’s no real consequence for failing to follow the guidelines. However, the AGA is a powerful entity politically, and not the kind of organization that a gaming company should readily oppose.

Sports betting change a sign of the times

Naturally, sports betting’s inclusion into the AGA’s Code of Conduct is evidence of the massive upheaval in the US gambling scene. The Supreme Court’s decision to strike down PASPA has created market opportunities in almost every state.

Seven states have taken advantage by legalizing the practice. In fact, three of them (New Jersey, Delaware, and Mississippi) have already begun accepting wagers.

As a result, gambling companies have reached numerous partnerships with each other in the last two months. Gaming giants across the globe are teaming up to offer retail and mobile solutions at almost a daily rate.

In just the past week, we’ve seen deals between the following companies:

This sort of list is unprecedented in the American gaming industry. Amazingly, this activity happened since July 26 – literally seven days ago.

Sports betting will only accelerate from here. Last year, gaming analysts Eilers and Krejcik estimated that 32 states would legalize sports betting by 2023.

So, companies are scrambling not only to grab the existing markets but also to set up relationships as the market expands. Of the new partnerships, MGM’s deal with the NBA is the most significant, because it represents the acquiescence of a major sports league to sports betting’s inevitability.

With so much activity happening, the AGA felt like it needed to get out ahead of the sports betting wave. Otherwise, hastily-written promotions might find their way to underage eyes, and generate the exact type of attention that the gambling industry doesn’t want.

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Bart Shirley

Bart Shirley is the managing editor of evergreen content for PlayUSA. He’s been writing and reporting on the gambling industry since 2013. Prior to working for PlayUSA, Shirley was a feature writer for QuadJacks, a site covering issues in poker. He also writes for BonusCodePoker, a poker satire site that lampoons the lighter side of card games. Shirley is a graduate of the MBA program at Texas Christian University’s Neeley School of Business and has a degree in English from Texas A&M University. He grew up in Houston, TX, and lives in Katy, just west of Houston. Shirley is also a former high school teacher. He is married, has one daughter, and practices Brazilian jiu jitsu in his spare time.

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