NCPG Welcomes Federal Involvement In Promoting Responsible Gambling

Written By J.R. Duren on February 14, 2023 - Last Updated on February 15, 2023
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The National Council on Problem Gambling (NCPG) is on board with a New York politician’s call to end US sports betting advertisements across the country. The NCPG wrote in a statement:

“As new forms of gambling are legalized rapidly across the country, now is the time for the federal government to play a role in mitigating the negative consequences that come from gambling. NCPG stands ready and willing to assist members of Congress or the Executive branch in determining and implementing policies that will reduce the rate of problem gambling.”

Earlier this month, New York Rep. Paul Tonko introduced a bill to Congress that would effectively end sports betting advertisements on any media overseen by the Federal Communications Commission, which includes TV, radio, and the internet. The title of the bill is “Betting on Our Future Act.”

The NCPG noted it does not support or oppose the bill. Rather, it “welcomes” the congressman’s interest in federal involvement with problem gambling.

Federal funding for problem gambling needs improvement

Among the NCPG’s arguments in its brief statement about Tonko’s bill is that the federal government needs to spend more on problem gambling research.

The group noted that there are “no federal funds allocated to support problem gambling services”. Meanwhile, the NCPG pointed out, billions of federal dollars fund research on alcohol, tobacco, and drug addictions.

As federal money goes elsewhere, the country continues to suffer through spikes in problem gambling, the NCPG said:

  • Between 2018 and 2021, the risk of gambling addiction jumped an estimated 30%
  • Calls to the NCPG”s National Problem Gambling Helpline increased by around 45% from 2021 to 2022.

“A comprehensive publicly funded problem gambling program addressing prevention, treatment and research services nationwide is urgently needed to protect the public and reduce the social costs of gambling-related harm,” the group wrote.

Some stakeholders are making a push for safer sports betting ads

Tonko’s call to ban US sports betting advertising may not become law. And the move will surely face a lot of pushback from the sports betting lobby. In the meantime, however, at least one professional sports league and several operators have adjusted their advertising phrasing.

For example, the NBA banned sportsbooks from using the phrase “risk-ree” in bet promotions. The phrase is a bit misleading, in that a gambler still assumes the risk for “risk-free” bets.

At least four operators have stopped using “risk-free,” too:

  1. Caesars
  2. DraftKings
  3. FanDuel
  4. BetMGM

FanDuel, however, has chosen to replace “risk-free” with “sweat-free.” So, while the word “risk” is no longer used, the sportsbook still gives bettors the impression there isn’t anything to lose by enrolling in a sweat-free betting promotion.

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J.R. Duren

J.R. Duren has covered the gambling beats for more than a dozen states for Catena Media since 2015. His past reporting experience includes two years at the Villages Daily Sun, and he is a first-place winner at the Florida Press Club Excellence in Journalism Contest.

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