The Garden State is finally setting up strong measures to govern advertisements during the ongoing NFL games. To keep punters safe, New Jersey is now requiring sports betting operators to thoroughly look over any ads before they are aired. The point here is to eradicate any misleading messages.
Marketing and advertising is a huge component that makes sports betting operators successful. As the New Jersey sports betting market continues to get more crowded by the day, sports betting brands are fighting the long and hard battle for a piece of the market share. Unfortunately, this endeavor often comes with high customer acquisition costs and churn rates.
It is hard for sportsbooks in New Jersey to differentiate themselves and it is probably going to get harder as time goes by. By law, all sportsbooks are generally the same as they are all regulated and licensed by the state. That’s why most rely on advertisements and marketing to differentiate themselves.
As such, the Garden State is keeping an eye out on sports betting operators and the types of commercials they run during this season. The DGE has asked each of the operators to pay close attention to the terms and conditions laid out to keep players safe. When sports betting was first legalized, sportsbooks did not have free rein as it related to advertising and marketing practices.
Before any ads had to be run, they had to first go through the DGE. But operators do not want to go back to that since they now have full control. If the DGE takes this control away from them, it could take up to a month for sportsbooks to receive approval on their betting ads, which is the last thing that these brands want as the NFL season commences.
When it comes to sports wagering action, the NFL still remains the leader in North American sports. Having as much visibility with NFL fans as possible this season is of great importance to all the sportsbooks brands as it presents a great opportunity for potential growth. Sports betting brands such as Caesars Entertainment will have more push than others as the official sports casino partner and exclusive sports betting partner of the NFL.
In-game NFL ads present sports betting brands with a great opportunity to get their names and logos in front of highly engaged audiences that are consuming live sports. On a more positive note, the NFL is doing everything it can to make sure that sports betting ads do not crush or overtake game broadcasts. So as of now, the sports betting ads have been capped at 6 per game.
Where do sports betting brands and marketing agencies draw the line?
There has been mounting debate over the last couple of years over whether sports betting advertisements mislead punters into thinking that they’ve got a shot at winning- more than they actually do in a real-life scenario. To make sportsbooks as enticing as possible, you will find lots of offers out there that center on becoming a millionaire- which is not the typical experience an average punter has.
For example, at the beginning of this year, DraftKings gave away a $1 million cash prize in NFL-themed sweepstakes and ran several TV ads encouraging sports bettors to join more than 140 other bettors who had already walked away with millions. Other DraftKings ads placed a lot of emphasis on the excitement of having skin in the game with every ad ending with the popular tagline, “Make it rain.”
As you can tell, just how far sports wagering brands can go with their marketing is still a very gray area. Some of the rules that have been created by the commission, such as those governing the placement and wording of betting disclaimers in such advertisements are explicit. Others, however, merely require sportsbooks to make ‘reasonable’ claims in their advertising, which means that advertisement rules are primarily broad and open to various interpretations.
When it comes to underage marketing, the line here is clear. Case in point, Penn National, which owns Barstool Sports and its sportsbook was forced not too long ago to remove social media posts that included a photoshopped appearance of a child. As sportsbooks continue pursuing mega-deals with various media houses and sponsorships with major league teams, the rules around advertising will clearly need to be tightened.
The rise of sports betting in the country has not been easy. It’s been extremely controversial ever since the Supreme Court overturned PASPA in 2018. Today, sports betting is legal in more than half the country and is operational in at least 20 states with more states having either passed bills or are in the process of debating new legislation.
Even though every state has set up individual rules surrounding the marketing and advertising of sports betting products, there is still no national standard for companies. There is also still no federal agency that has been tasked with the responsibility of monitoring sportsbooks’ marketing activities. As of now, all sports wagering activities, including marketing and advertising, are under the control of the individual gaming commissions in every state.
It is the various gaming commissions that publish guidelines on how to adhere to responsible gaming messages that are passed across in advertising and promotions. Most of the commissions place serious restrictions on the types of wagers and which sports punters can bet on.
Many also require sportsbooks to set up voluntary self-exclusion programs and measures that protect problem gamblers from overusing their platforms. Beyond these regulations, it falls on each sportsbook brand to determine how aggressively their customer acquisition and retention strategy is going to be pursued.
At the end of the day, what all these sports betting companies want is simple- a share of the market. It is not clear whether the country will come up with national advertising standards as they have in the UK. However, as sports betting continues to become more popular, advertising standards will have to be placed for the safety of punters.