How North Carolina’s Sports Betting Ad Plans Stack Up To Expert Recommendations

North Carolina’s sports betting bill includes responsible gaming measures, but the current plans differ from what some experts recommend.

The American Gaming Association (AGA) recently updated its Responsible Marketing Code for sports betting. That code is a list of recommendations the group hopes legal sports betting states will adopt.

If the latest North Carolina sports betting bill succeeds with its current language, the Tar Heel State won’t be following any of the AGA’s new recommendations.

Responsible sports betting advertising

Sports betting advertisements have become a hot-button issue over the past few years. As more states legalize sports betting, these ads have become more prevalent.

Even if you live in a state without legal sports betting, such as North Carolina, you’ve likely already seen plenty of these ads.

Gambling companies buy ad space during major sporting events such as March Madness. Since these events are nationally televised, North Carolina residents will see sportsbook ads often. That can confuse North Carolinians since the state doesn’t have legal betting.

Sportsbook ads have become so commonplace that some states are looking to limit them in various ways.

The AGA’s new Responsible Marketing Code is the latest example of a call for more regulation. The group hopes its recommended changes will help limit problem gambling for college-aged audiences in the US.

North Carolina differs from recommendations

The AGA’s recommendations call for states with legal sports betting to implement the following protections:

  • Prohibit college partnerships that promote sports wagering;
  • Prohibit NIL sportsbook deals for college athletes;
  • Make sure all individuals featured in sports betting ads are 21 years old;
  • Change all references to the “legal age of wagering” to 21-plus;
  • Ban the use of “risk free” in advertising;
  • Create an annual process for reviewing advertising policies.

North Carolina’s sports betting bill is making its way through the state Senate. At least for now, the bill does not include any of the AGA’s new recommendations.

The proposed legislation does feature $2 million in annual problem gambling funding and a mandate that sportsbook ads do not target individuals under age 21.

Failed amendments would have changed ad policy

North Carolina lawmakers introduced a few amendments that would have altered the bill’s advertising policies, but they were all shot down during hearings in the House.

One of those amendments would have made it illegal for sportsbooks to air advertisements on school grounds, including college campuses.

That amendment failed during its vote, mainly because of the difficulty enforcing it. Nationally televised sports broadcasts, such NFL games, feature sportsbook ads. Since they’re readily available to watch at places such as universities, limiting the ads without banning the broadcasts of these sporting events would have been difficult.

Changing the potential landscape of sports betting ads in North Carolina has already been discussed. Now that the AGA recommends even more restrictions, ads will likely come up again for the bill as it goes through the Senate.

There’s no way to know whether lawmakers will adopt additional sports betting ad restrictions. But at the very least, advertising policies are becoming a key issue as states seek to legalize sports betting.

As the momentum toward legalized online sports betting continues to build in North Carolina, you can get a feel for how the legal landscape will eventually look by checking out the most anticipated NC online sportsbook promos expected to be on offer here.

About the Author

Jake Garza

Jake Garza is a US Gambling Industry Analyst for Catena Media. He specializes in sports betting and casino content. Prior to covering the legal gambling industry, he spent time as a professional sports writer, reporting on teams such as the Cincinnati Bengals, Indianapolis Colts and Indiana Pacers. Garza has been covering the gambling industry since 2019, and currently works with a team of other journalists to provide comprehensive coverage of the legal U.S. gambling industry.