AGA calls for gambling advertising to include national gambling helplines

The American Gaming Association (AGA) has urged gambling companies to include national gambling helplines as part of their nationwide advertising campaigns.

This comes after DraftKings signed up to the AGA’s “Have A Game Plan. Bet Responsibly” campaign in June.

AGA urges operators to include national helplines

In a new AGA policy statement, the US body has encouraged streamlined requirements for national advertising campaigns that would allow operators to improve the readability of disclaimers and better promote problem gambling resources.

The AGA noted that while most consumers enjoy gambling as a form of entertainment, the helplines offer essential services to those people who find themselves experiencing problems with their level of gambling.

Each state has its own specific requirements for including problem gambling disclaimers in published and broadcasted advertisements. According to the AGA, this is essential for local advertising but it “creates confusion and inconsistency in national advertising.”

According to the organisation, this results in diminished awareness as the requirements to display several national and state-specific helpline numbers can result in more than a dozen phone numbers in difficult-to-read fonts, reducing accessibility to those in need.

The AGA also suggests it can create confusion among customers as “many problem gamblers may not know which number is the appropriate number to call.”

On top of this, the US gambling body argues that the current offering is outdated as a “call-in helpline overlooks more modern services used for crisis assistance like text messaging and chat support.”

AGA Vice President of Government Relations and Gaming Policy Counsel Jessica Feil said: “Problem gambling helplines are a vital resource for those in need of help. Unfortunately, lengthy lists of state-specific helplines on national advertisements create barriers for those seeking help when we should be making these critical resources easily accessible. 

“This approach—allowing the use of a national helpline in national advertising—is the most effective way to protect players.”

“As gaming expands across the country, it’s imperative that our industry continues protecting all customers. We believe there shouldn’t be obstacles to help for those who need it, and a modernization of the helpline system for national advertising is a good place to start.”

The AGA’s responsible betting initiative

In 2020, the AGA launched its “Have a Game Pan. Bet Responsibly” campaign, and since then several sports bodies and betting firms have made a commitment to it.

NASCAR became the first sports league to partner with the AGA’s campaign in September 2020. Since then, the National Hockey League, PGA Tour, and UFC have also committed themselves to the initiative.

When it comes to sportsbook operators, the  AGA is currently partnered with DraftKings and FanDuel for the responsible gambling campaign.

Other partners include the payment provider Sightline, as well as Sinclair Broadcast Group.