BetMGM will become the first major sportsbook to embark on a comprehensive campaign to encourage responsible gaming in the U.S. and Canada.
The campaign will be featured prominently on BetMGM’s legal sports betting app and social media platforms and be given high visibility on the operator’s billboard, print, TV, and radio ads across North America.
BetMGM officially launches the initiative on Wednesday, March 1, which marks the beginning of Problem Gambling Awareness Month, and comes less than two weeks before Massachusetts opens up mobile sports wagering on March 10. BetMGM had previously announced its intention to intensify its responsible gaming messaging in the Bay State.
This responsible gaming initiative will see BetMGM, the third-largest online sports betting site in the U.S., actively promote safe betting practices among its customers in a concerted effort to curb problem gambling.
Canada plays key role in BetMGM responsible gaming campaign
Canada is playing a key role in this important consumer awareness effort. BetMGM has developed its RG messaging campaign in cooperation with GameSense, the pioneering responsible gaming program established in 2009 by the British Columbia Lottery Corporation (BCLC).
GameSense has been licensed to MGM Resorts and its BetMGM sportsbook arm and is one of the legalized gaming industry’s pioneers in the field of “promoting positive, transparent, and proactive conversations with players” and educating consumers to wager responsibly and safely.
“With the continued growth of sports betting and iGaming, it’s imperative that our industry remain committed to supporting the best interests of our guests and customers,” said MGM Resorts CEO & President Bill Hornbuckle in announcing the campaign. “MGM Resorts is the premier leader in gaming entertainment, and GameSense has helped us set the standard for promoting responsible gaming and prioritizing player health. We commend BetMGM for this groundbreaking commitment.”
Echoing these remarks, BetMGM CEO Adam Greenblatt emphasized how his sportsbook — a joint 50-50 venture between MGM Resorts and Entain — believes that the gaming industry needs to take responsibility to promote safe gaming.
“We are committed to leading the industry in promoting responsible gaming, which is why we’re announcing this unprecedented pledge to spotlight responsible gaming messaging in our advertising,” said Greenblatt. “As the legalized sports betting and online gaming industry continues to expand, it is vital that we not only equip players with tools and resources for how to play in a responsible and safe manner, but that we also make a significant commitment to showcasing responsible gaming in our advertising.”
BetMGM first licensed GameSense in April 2021, setting in motion the process of integrating the player health program into its digital sports betting and iGaming platforms, giving customers valuable tools for setting spending limits and following responsible gaming practices.
“Entain is committed to providing the safest possible betting and gaming platform for all our customers around the world,” said Entain CEO Jette Nygaard-Andersen. “This is even more important in a market like the U.S., where betting and gaming are going through rapid and transformative growth. Technology is the key enabler in providing a safety net for our customers. Building these tools with GameSense into the BetMGM platform is the best way forward.”
BetMGM also partners with International Center for Responsible Gaming
Greenblatt also revealed that BetMGM had partnered with the International Centre for Responsible Gaming (ICRG), an independent organization based in Beverly, Mass. BetMGM had previously endowed the ICRG with a $180,000 research grant in March.
“While today’s announcement is a significant step forward, one that we hope other operators will follow, we also know that this is just the start,” said Greenblatt.
“Research is essential to progress and will make an important contribution to tackling problem gambling. We are committed to protecting players across the country and have partnered with The International Center for Responsible Gaming (ICRG) to help better understand and tackle the issues around advertising and problem gambling.”
Now that BetMGM has built it, will the other sportsbooks follow?
The BetMGM RG campaign sets an important example that should encourage other leading sportsbooks to introduce similar initiatives.
FanDuel, DraftKings, BetMGM, and Caesars Sportsbook collectively control over 80% of Gross Gaming Revenue in the U.S. regulated sports betting market, and an industry-wide effort to promote player awareness and curb problem gaming would seem a natural evolution in an industry that continues to experience explosive growth.
In September, FanDuel staged a Play Well Day to signal its commitment to its broad multi-media responsible gaming ad campaign entitled “The System.” The leading U.S. operator also announced that it would be donating $100,000 to fund ongoing gaming behavior research at the ICRG.
“I continue to be impressed with FanDuel’s efforts to promote Responsible Gaming,” said Arthur Paikowsky, ICRG President in recognition of the grant. “The company is making important strides in raising awareness of safer play. Their donation to ICRG is important to advance critical research in the months and years to come.”
Meanwhile, DraftKings also took advantage of last September’s Responsible Gaming Education Month to reveal that it signed skateboard icon and social media influencer Tony Hawk as an official spokesman for its Practice Safe Bets campaign.
Joining him in the effort is pro wrestling star The Miz as part of a series of TV, radio, and social media ad spots designed to “emphasize the importance of engaging in responsible gaming, including setting limits on play by using the responsible gaming tools available on the DraftKings app.”
Caesars Sportsbook, the fourth-largest U.S. operator, also launched a TV spot at the beginning of the NFL season which featured the three Mannings — Archie, Peyton, and Eli — as part of a PSA promoting responsible wagering.
But these efforts are now dwarfed by BetMGM’s wholescale commitment to encouraging safe betting practices among its customers that should set a standard for its operator rivals to follow in the months to come.
RG campaigns will help ease legislators’ fears
Industry-wide responsible gaming ad blitzes will go a long way to calming rising concerns in some states concerning problem gaming.
The launch of the BetMGM RG initiative comes three weeks after Rep. Paul Tonko (D-NY) introduced legislation that would impose a nationwide ban on all sportsbook advertising.
This is not only a coincidence, however — the RG campaign has been several months in planning — but the bill is given virtually no chance of passage in the Republican-controlled House, where many Democrats are backers of the gaming industry.
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