Pro leagues advocate en masse for responsible gambling in advertising
The conundrum around betting commercials continue as the NHL, NBA, MLB and others, along with two broadcasters, form a coalition in the U.S. Also, PointsBet gets some M&A attention in North America.
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In this issue:
Leagues, media outlets create coalition
PointsBet as an M&A target in North America
Chime in on LinkedIn Audio this afternoon
Get your ticket (at a discount) for SBC Summit North America
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Leagues, media outlets create U.S. coalition around betting ads
Who’d a thunk a Crown agency would become a trendsetter?
OK, OK, before the gears start smoking from the grinding in overdrive, we’re just joshing? It’s obviously mere coincidence that last week’s announcement by the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario around amending its advertising rules for sports betting and gaming operators - which we’ve covered stem-to-stern in this corner and on last week’s Gaming News Canada Show podcast - was the start of a new tsunami of coverage around the ad controversy. Or, as we here at GNC HQ like to call it, the Morton’s Salt Effect:
Politicians in the state of Maine are also looking to take action against celebrities appearing in sports betting and gaming commercials.
A ban on sports wagering ads and sponsorship is coming to the Netherlands on July 1.
A BetVictor ad in the UK featuring Spanish soccer stars Jordi Alba and Sergio Busquets was ruled by the Advertising Standards Authority as appealing to youth under the age of 18, and hence, out of line with the rules.
Deadspin founder Will Leitch, writing for New York Magazine, took aim via his keyboard at both the quantity and quality of sports betting advertising and media.
The Netherlands Gaming Authority announced today it had nailed Entain’s BetCity with a $670,000 fine for targeting young adults with its ads.
Last but most definitely not least, as we were polishing off our second cup of dark roast yesterday morning, the Twitterverse spun out the link to a David Purdum article on ESPN.com on a collaboration between sports leagues and broadcasters to advocate a responsible approach to sports betting advertising.
The members of the new Coalition for Responsible Sports Betting Advertising (we’ll let you know when the T-shirts are available to buy online) are the NFL, NBA, NHL, Major League Baseball, WNBA, NASCAR and MLS. NBCUniversal and Fox have joined the coalition, which, according to Purdum’s piece, is being led by NFL vice president of public policy and government affairs Jonathan Nabavi.
"As the legalization of sports betting spreads nationwide, we feel it is critical to establish guardrails around how sports betting should be advertised to consumers across the United States," the coalition said in a statement. "Each member of the coalition feels a responsibility to ensure sports betting advertising is not only targeted to an appropriate audience, but also that the message is thoughtfully crafted and carefully delivered."
The coalition members will implement and maintain consumer protection policies based on six principles:
Sports betting should be marketed only to adults of legal betting age
Sports betting advertising should not promote irresponsible or excessive gambling or degrade the consumer experience
Sports betting advertisements should not be misleading
Sports betting advertisements should be in good taste
Publishers should have appropriate internal reviews of sports betting advertising
Publishers should review consumer complaints pertaining to sports betting advertising
There’s no mention of athletes past or present being used in advertising around sports wagering, but that’s no surprise as that beast has already been let out of the barn (even as the AGCO attempts to change it).
The news drew a tap of the Jofa hockey bucket from the American Gaming Association.
Given both the AGCO and CRSBA (think we have that right) announcements, we wondered if the coalition might come across the border, so we did some canvassing of industry folk yesterday.
Catherine MacLeod, president and CEO of thinkTV - the clearing house for approval of TV ads in our home and native land - told us in an email the organization hasn’t heard from any of the coalition’s members. We also reached out to the communications teams at Bell Media’s TSN (as we hit the Publish button this morning, we were still awaiting a response) and Rogers Sports & Media, which sent us this statement:
“There have been no formal discussions, but Rogers Sports & Media works closely with the AGCO, iGaming Ontario, and our team and league partners to ensure a consistent and responsible approach to sports betting advertising. thinkTV is instrumental in leading this collaboration with the governing bodies and clears all sports betting ads that air on our TV channels by applying rigorous compliance standards in accordance with iGaming Ontario.”
We’ll be keeping tabs on the coalition in the U.S. of A. to see if it has the bite of a starving tiger, or this:
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Is PointsBet’s North American business headed down consolidation road?
It appears that PointsBet’s path to consolidation will be going through North America instead of its roots Down Under.
The Australian Financial Review reported a week ago that PointsBet has appointed investment bank Moelis & Co. to find a buyer for its North American business after the operator decided against selling off its business Down Under.
“We believe further industry consolidation is inevitable,” a PointsBet spokesman told the media outlet. “We’ll position PointsBet to take advantage of movement in the sector.”
More than a few folks have mentioned PointsBet as an attractive acquisition when blue-skying about consolidation in a North American market that’s still in the early stages of not only operating, but for operators wanting to be profitable. As Justin Byers wrote on Covers.com, PB is live in 14 U.S. states, and also in Ontario - where the presence of 44 legal operators means the C(onsolidation) word is never too far away. Sam McQuillan of Legal Sports Report, in his coverage, pointed out the failed attempts by MaximBet and FuboBet to be acquired.
Gaming News Canada reached out to gambling industry veterans Chris Grove of Acies Investments and Benjie Cherniak of Avenue H. Capital for their thoughts.
“PointsBet brings a compelling mix of technology, operational talent, and market access to the table,” Grove wrote in an email to your congenial chronicler. “Any potential acquirer will quickly find that precious few viable acquisition targets credibly check all of those boxes.
“The real question is how many acquirers are actually in the market.”
Added Cherniak, also via email: "Not a big surprise that PointsBet have announced their intentions to sell their North American operations. To start, they are tight on capital such that their options are to raise more money - which would be at unfavourable terms in a best-case scenario - or consider M&A alternatives. There are some positives though in that they are a well-run organization, they have proprietary technology, a strong trading and modeling team, etc.
“Add it all up and PointsBet is an attractive asset, in particular for a company that lacks proven technology and / or experienced operational aptitude.”
Chime in on LinkedIn Audio this afternoon
If you’re a Leafs fan looking for a distraction before Game 2 against the Lightning tonight, let us recommend spending an hour amongst friends on the latest Gaming News Canada Show presented by Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt LLP.
We’re back on LinkedIn Audio this afternoon beginning at 2 p.m. ET for an hour of sports betting and gaming industry conversation. Among our guests will be Aidan Brain, VP Conference Production, Americas, who will provide a sneak peek at the June 13-15 Canadian Gaming Summit at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre. ICYMI last year, SBC has taken over management of the Canadian betting and gaming industry rendezvous.
As usual, we’ll discuss and debate the most relevant news of the week. As always, it’s BYOV (bring your own voice).
Good seats still available for SBC Summit North America
Ladies and gentlemen, get ready to start collecting (once again) those air miles and hotel points.
The gambling industry’s spring/summer Conference Season in the east-northeast sections of North America gets rolling next month with SBC Summit North America at the Meadowlands Exposition Center in New Jersey, May 9-11. For a $200 discount on your ducat, visit sbcevents.com and use the code GNC23NA when you register.
Speaking of registration, a friendly reminder (the only type of reminders we do here at GNC HQ) for startups wanting to participate in the SBC First Pitch Competition at the Canadian Gaming Summit in June.
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