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AGA Introduces Restrictions in Responsible Marketing Code

Mike Noblin
Written by Mike Noblin
March 31, 2023
AGA Introduces Restrictions in Responsible Marketing Code

On March 28th, 2023, the American Gaming Association released the most significant update to the marketing code. The AGA first developed the Responsible Marketing Code in 2019 to set the standard for what responsible advertising in betting should be.

In the press release announcing the update, the AGA president, Bill Miller, highlighted how the association is driven towards creating a marketplace that provides consumers with the knowledge to keep betting safe and fun.

It also prioritizes protecting vulnerable consumers. These are the key changes that were made to the AGA marketing code.

Prohibition of “Risk-Free” Advertising

Sportsbooks will no longer be allowed to use “risk-free” in betting promotions. The association recognizes that these adverts are dishonest because the offers are not completely risk-free.

In most of these situations, the consumer has to make a deposit or stake up to a certain amount to withdraw the reward. Thus there is still risk involved.

Sportsbooks will now have to use other more accurate terms to describe their promotional offers instead of tagging them “risk-free.”

Added Restrictions on Advertising to College Populations

The Responsible Marketing Code tries to stop betting corporations from making advertisements aimed at the young college population. Making marketing advances toward people who are not legally able to participate in gambling activities is considered to be wrong.

The updated code prohibits betting companies from entering college partnerships that promote or advertise sports gambling activity. The only exceptions to this are where the content is focused on responsible gambling initiatives or sharing awareness on problem gambling. Also, where partnerships are made towards alumni networks, they are not prohibited.

In addition, different other regulations have been created at different levels to protect college students below the legal gambling age from gambling adverts.

Age Restrictions

The Responsible Marketing Code now has added age restrictions for some betting advertisements. Individuals below 21 years of age cannot be featured in sports betting marketing ads. Amateur and College athletes will also not be able to obtain sportsbook NIL deals because they are now prohibited by the code.

Similarly, references to the legal age requirement for gambling should be stated as “21+”. These restrictions are aimed at ensuring that people below the legal age for wagering are not enticed to participate in betting activities through sportsbook advertisements.

More Information on the Updated Advertising Code

In addition to these, the code now includes a formal process for reviewing its provisions and making updates where they are necessary to match new realities in the industry.

These updated restrictions have been effective from the day they were announced. However, there is a grace period that lasts till July 1, 2023, for sportsbooks to fully comply with the new restrictions entirely.

In its press release, the AGA recognized how advertisements are essential for sustaining a competitive market and drawing consumers to legal sportsbooks over illegal, exploitative markets.

It was in a bid to ensure that consumers' interests are recognized and protected that the AGA created the responsible marketing code. Updates like this help the industry to keep its regulations up to speed with the newest trends among consumers and sportsbooks.

Before the release of the updated Responsible Marketing Code, regulators in different states had been strict on handling sportsbooks’ advertising excesses. It appears to be that the new restrictions included in the code were made in response to regulatory pressure.

While the new provisions in the code are a step in the right direction, there is still speculation on whether or not it is enough to reduce the public interest in increased regulation of gambling ads.

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