AGA’s key changes to responsible marketing code for sports betting ads: A proactive approach to responsible gambling

Posted: May 19, 2023 13:00 Posted by Maria Debrincat
Category: Americas, Online, Sportsbetting,
Posted: May 19, 2023 13:00 Category: Americas, Online, Sportsbetting, Posted by Maria Debrincat

The American Gaming Association (AGA) has recently made significant updates to its Responsible Marketing Code for Sports Wagering

The changes aim to promote responsible gambling practices and protect consumers, particularly minors and vulnerable populations. In this article, we will explore the key changes to the code and their implications for the sports betting industry.

Prohibition of targeted advertising to minors and self-excluded individuals

One of the main changes to the AGA’s code is the prohibition of targeted advertising to individuals under the legal age for sports wagering (21 years or older in most US jurisdictions) and those who have self-excluded from gambling activities. This measure is designed to protect minors from exposure to sports betting advertisements and prevent relapses among problem gamblers who have chosen to self-exclude.

Mandate against suggesting gambling as a financial solution or path to success

Another significant update to the code is the mandate that advertisements for sports wagering should not suggest that gambling can be a solution to financial problems or a path to success. This change aims to discourage irresponsible gambling behavior and prevent misleading advertisements that could potentially exploit vulnerable individuals facing financial difficulties.

Avoiding depictions of irresponsible or excessive gambling behavior

The AGA’s updated code also requires that advertisements should avoid any depiction or suggestion of irresponsible or excessive gambling behavior. This provision is intended to prevent the normalisation of harmful gambling practices and encourage responsible gambling habits among consumers.

Prohibition on “Risk-Free” bet promotions

As part of the AGA’s commitment to responsible marketing practices, the updated code includes a prohibition on “risk-free” bet promotions. “The AGA’s prohibition on ‘risk-free’ bet promotions is a positive step towards ensuring that consumers are protected from potentially harmful marketing tactics,” says industry expert Mike Lukas. “By prioritising responsible marketing practices, the industry can promote a safe and enjoyable betting experience for all.”

Promoting responsible gambling and providing resources

In addition to the restrictions on advertising content, the updated code encourages operators to promote responsible gambling in their marketing materials and provide information about available resources to address problem gambling. This initiative seeks to raise awareness of the potential risks associated with sports betting and ensure that consumers have access to the necessary support services if they encounter gambling-related problems.

Voluntary compliance and industry best practice

Although the AGA’s Responsible Marketing Code for Sports Wagering is voluntary, it is considered an industry best practice. Member organisations are expected to adhere to its provisions, demonstrating their commitment to responsible gambling and consumer protection.

The role of technology in responsible gambling

With the rapid growth of the online sports betting industry, technology has an increasingly important role to play in promoting responsible gambling. Tools such as geolocation, age verification, and self-exclusion databases can help ensure that sports betting remains a safe and enjoyable activity for consumers.

Innovative solutions like artificial intelligence and machine learning algorithms can also be employed to detect patterns of problem gambling behavior and notify operators, enabling them to take proactive measures to support at-risk individuals. As the industry continues to evolve, the adoption of cutting-edge technology will be essential in ensuring a responsible and sustainable future for sports betting.

The impact of the updated code on the sports betting industry

The key changes to the AGA’s Responsible Marketing Code are expected to have a significant impact on the sports betting industry. Operators will need to review and update their advertising strategies to ensure compliance with the new guidelines, potentially leading to shifts in marketing budgets and tactics. Furthermore, these changes may contribute to fostering a more responsible gambling culture among consumers, ultimately benefiting the industry as a whole.

Challenges facing the sports betting industry

Despite the positive steps taken by the AGA to update its Responsible Marketing Code, the sports betting industry still faces a number of challenges in promoting responsible gambling practices. One such challenge is the need for ongoing education and training for industry professionals. Ensuring that employees at all levels understand the importance of responsible gambling and are equipped to identify and respond to potential problem gambling behavior is essential to maintaining a safe betting environment.

Another challenge facing the industry is the constantly evolving nature of the online sports betting landscape. As new technologies and platforms emerge, operators must stay ahead of the curve and adapt their responsible gambling strategies accordingly. This may include collaborating with technology providers and researchers to develop innovative solutions for identifying and mitigating gambling-related harm.

Mike Lukas from highlighted to SiGMA News “The AGA’s prohibition on ‘risk-free’ bet promotions is a positive step towards ensuring that consumers are protected from potentially harmful marketing tactics. By prioritising responsible marketing practices, the industry can promote a safe and enjoyable betting experience for all.”

Furthermore, the sports betting industry must navigate the complex regulatory environment surrounding advertising and consumer protection. As different jurisdictions have varying regulations and requirements, operators must be diligent in ensuring compliance across all markets in which they operate. This may necessitate the allocation of additional resources to legal and compliance departments, as well as ongoing monitoring of regulatory changes and industry best practices.


The American Gaming Association‘s recent updates to its Responsible Marketing Code for Sports Wagering demonstrate a proactive approach to addressing the potential risks associated with sports betting advertising. By promoting responsible gambling practices and protecting vulnerable populations, the AGA is taking a crucial step towards ensuring a sustainable and responsible future for the sports betting industry in the United States.
However, the journey towards responsible gambling is an ongoing process, and the industry must continue to adapt and innovate in order to meet the challenges of the rapidly evolving sports betting landscape. By prioritising consumer protection, embracing technological advancements, and collaborating with stakeholders across the industry, sports betting operators can help ensure that their products and services remain both enjoyable and safe for consumers.

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