Nascent NY Sports Betting Can Learn Plenty From Seasoned UK When It Comes To Advertising

Written By Matt Boecker on July 26, 2023 - Last Updated on July 28, 2023
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Soon, sports betting logos will be removed from Premier League club jerseys as the push for responsible sportsbook advertising continues overseas and in the US.

Earlier this year, the most popular soccer league in the world announced that, beginning in the 2026-2027 season, gambling sponsorships will be removed from team’s game-day jerseys. The move makes the Premier League the first UK sports league to take action against the high volume of betting advertising and marketing.

The Premier League is also assisting other leagues in the development of a new set of rules regarding responsible sportsbook advertising.

Legal sports betting in the US, including the New York sports betting industry, is far younger than the UK’s, which was formally legalized in 1960. So the timeline of events stemming from sportsbooks entering United States markets has followed a similar pathway to what occurred in the United Kingdom.

United States learns best regulatory practices from United Kingdom

As much as Americans take pride in being trailblazers, that certainly can’t be applied to the advent of regulated sports betting. Legal sports wagering has been happening in the UK for over 60 years, and the first online sports wager was placed in 1996.

Mobile sports betting didn’t enter the New York market until 2022 — nearly four years after New Jersey became the first state outside Nevada to offer online sports betting.

Because of this, the US had the advantage of learning from the UK’s legalization process to see what worked, and what didn’t.

For example, the United Kingdom passed the 2005 Gambling Act as a way to further control gaming operators. Part of the legislation mandated licensing duties to be transferred from magistrates, the equivalent of a district court’s judicial officers, to local authorities and regulatory bodies.

In the Empire State, the New York State Gaming Commission holds control over NY online sports betting licensing and regulation. Each state has a similar body that oversees each operator, and many are solely focused on betting, while others are combined with lottery or alcohol control boards.

US sports leagues not far behind in responsible advertising advocacy

While it’s true the United States has lagged behind the United Kingdom in gambling expansion, America isn’t trailing in the push for responsible sportsbook advertising.

Similarly to the Premier League, a host of professional sports leagues in the US have also taken action to promote responsible sportsbook advertising. In April, the formation of the Coalition for Responsible Sports Betting Advertising was announced, and the group’s members include the following leagues:

  • NFL
  • MLB
  • MLS
  • NBA
  • WNBA
  • NHL

According to a press release announcing the move, the coalition describes itself as “a voluntary association of sports leagues and media entities committed to doing their part to help ensure a responsible approach to sports betting advertising.”

The group also laid out these six goals pertaining to the implementation of consumer protection policies:

  • 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 advertising 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

What teams must avoid when signing sportsbook ad deals

The first goal listed by the Coalition for Responsible Sports Betting Advertising is avoiding marketing to underage individuals – in New York, that includes anyone under 21. This is because young people are drawn to pro sports, and athletes in particular.

If you watch any New York team play, you’re guaranteed to see sports betting companies logos scattered throughout the arena and in commercials. But one place they haven’t been stamped on is the player’s jerseys.

As we mentioned, the US has learned a lot from the UK’s sports betting industry. One thing they should do is avoid sports betting ads on jerseys to begin with.

Those partnership deals are very lucrative – the BBC estimates that each Premier League team’s sports betting logo deal is valued at $75 million. A study conducted by psychology experts from four universities in the UK estimated that betting company logos appear as often as 3,500 times during the course of a televised soccer match. But it would be hypocritical for a league to promote safe sportsbook advertising that avoids targeting minors while selling jerseys advertising sportsbooks.

Children wearing Knicks or Rangers jerseys with sportsbook logos on them would be counterintuitive to what the coalition stands for.

So the United States pro leagues should avoid entangling themselves in that web to begin with. Simply keep the sports betting logos off the jerseys, no matter the amount of money offered in a partnership deal.

Matt Boecker Avatar
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Matt Boecker

Born in Oak Lawn, Illinois, Matt graduated from Northern Illinois University, where he covered NIU hockey for the Northern Star. Since then, Matt has specialized in NFL and NBA coverage for various websites and podcasts before shifting gears to casino and sports betting coverage.

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