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U.S. Sports-Betting Advertising Boom Set To Escalate In 2022

December 23, 2021
As the calendar flips to 2022, the conversation surrounding the glut of sports-betting advertising in the United States is likely to only intensify, particularly as the country’s largest media market is set to launch online sports wagering.


As the calendar flips to 2022, the conversation surrounding the glut of sports betting advertising in the United States is likely to only intensify, particularly as the country’s largest media market is set to launch online sports wagering.

2021 saw the first hint of discontent from some regulators and legislators in states with competitive mobile sports-betting markets.

However, operators have shown little inclination to take their foot off the gas, with record spending coming at the beginning of the 2021 National Football League (NFL) season and a new deep-pocketed contender in Caesars Entertainment looking to catch up to market-share leaders FanDuel, DraftKings and BetMGM.

Following Caesars’ acquisition of William Hill, CEO Tom Reeg pledged to spend $1bn on customer acquisition by the end of 2023.

In addition, with mobile sports betting set to launch in New York and the reinstatement of remote registration for mobile wagering accounts in Illinois set for the first quarter of 2022, increased media scrutiny is likely to follow a significant boost in advertising in two of the three largest media markets, including New York City, where many of the country’s most influential media outlets are located.

New launches in competitive sports betting markets have typically been accompanied by a blanketing of sports betting ads, particularly in Arizona, one of the most hotly contested new markets of 2021.

“I see the number of ads that are out there, it’s every city bus, it’s the entire airport, and of course all of the commercials on every show,” said Stacie Stern, government affairs director at FanDuel. “But I think that what we’re all looking at is we’ve got this race to acquire people and move them over from the offshore unregulated market.”

“When we say that’s our top priority to move people over, obviously we’re going to have to get in front of as many eyeballs as possible.

“I think for us at FanDuel, we continue to have these conversations with regulators, with lawmakers in certain states to make sure, is there something we should be doing, passing legislation, writing another regulation, will that help?” Stern added. “It’s unclear.”

Ayesha Khanna Molino, senior vice president of government affairs for MGM Resorts International, added that to address potential advertising issues, more information was needed on the link between advertising and responsible gaming.

“First of all, we need to understand the issues and understand, not just anecdotally or from a knee-jerk perspective, whether there is a real problem,” she said. “We need to get our arms around that information.”

“The second thing we really need to do is take a look at all the policy proposals that are out there and make sure they address the substantive issue,” Molino added. “We have seen over and over regulators and legislators have come up with ideas, but what’s less clear whether those ideas actually solve the problems they intend to solve.”

Oliver Rowe, global head of leisure and entertainment for market research firm YouGov, said that a survey conducted last month found that over half of respondents in the U.S. felt that sports-betting advertising and marketing needed to be more careful to not attract underage players.

Only 14 percent agreed that they felt online gambling companies had the proper tools in place to prevent players from gambling in excess.

Although only 11 percent of Americans said that there was “far too much” sports betting advertising, that figure increased to 19 percent in states with legalized online betting, where 17 percent of respondents reported seeing more than five sports betting ads per day.

“Over half of them said there was far too much of it,” Rowe added. “A definite 'watch out' with that particular group.”

The survey, however, did show support for sports betting overall, with 46 percent in favor of legalized betting in some form, compared with 29 percent against, with a quarter of respondents saying they did not know.

Stern, Molino and Rowe all participated in an online seminar last week presented by Clarion Gaming focused on the outlook for sports betting in the United States in 2022.

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