Responsible Gambling Messaging Can Be Better On Sportsbook Social Media Accounts

Written By Mike Mazzeo on March 28, 2022

Sportsbook social media can often be the worst part of the gambling space.

Faceless Twitter accounts tout big/unlikely parlay wins and massive bets without any sort of context, creating a distorted view of reality.

More honesty and transparency would be helpful — especially as it pertains to problem gambling. And not just doing the bare minimum.

Sportsbooks should do more than bare minimum for responsible gambling

When it comes to responsible gambling messaging, sportsbooks oblige by jurisdictional regulations. That includes New York, which requires a base level of responsible gaming support.

However, according to Keith Whyte, executive director for the National Council on Problem Gambling, that’s usually all betting apps do. Sportsbooks and NY sports betting operators need to do better — and more.

“Responsible gambling messaging should never be doom and gloom or compliance-based stuff, this black and white, this two-point font disclosure blah, blah, blah,” Keith Whyte, executive director for the National Council on Problem Gambling, said.

“Right now, it seems like a lot of the responsible gambling message is compliance-based and bolted on to an existing campaign — and that applies not just to the operators but also within the sports media ecosystem as well.”

How to be better: More authentic responsible gambling messaging

A stronger ratio of authentic responsible gambling messaging is needed.

“I think what’s going to be effective is messaging that is incorporated deeply into a company’s brand. And the more authentic it is, the more people are going to receive it. … That’s the Hallmark of our Responsible Gambling approach — create a more informed consumer,” Whyte said.

Whyte says more effective messaging is imperative to reach the next generation of gamblers — which means creating realistic social norms and providing context.

“When we portray these wildly improbable events without context, and when we portray that everybody is gambling or some of these other tropes, we run a danger of creating an unrealistic social norm that can really negatively affect new gamblers,” Whyte said.

The NCPG would also like to find a more appropriate terminology for “risk-free betting.”

“We know we don’t like ‘risk-free’ because gambling is not risk-free — risk is the essence of gambling,” Whyte said. “I do think and hope that we will get away from risk-free. But we want to provide an alternative.”

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Mike Mazzeo

Mike Mazzeo is a contributing writer for PlayNY, reporting on legal sports betting in New York while covering the potential legalization of NY online casinos and poker. He previously wrote for ESPN, the New York Daily News and The Ringer, among others.

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