The NFL is spending $6.2m to help expand programs preventing or treating problem gambling across the US. The responsible betting initiative’s aim is to make fans realise why they have to set limits on their wagers, help them understand the risks of betting, and know where to ask for help if things get out of hand.
The league is partnering up with the National Council on Problem Gambling, in an effort to improve the group’s nationwide helpline, create new treatment programs and expand the existing ones, and to educate football fans who gamble on how to do it responsibly.
The campaign is set to last three years and it will include in-game messaging, social media outreach, broadcast, print and in-stadium messaging. Some of the messages are directly aimed at people who are too young to legally gamble but are tempted to do so.
According to the American Gaming Association, more than 45 million Americans plan to bet on NFL games this year; that’s an increase of 36% from last year.
Christopher Halpin, the NFL's EVP, Chief Strategy and Growth Officer, explained: "Sports betting is supposed to be fun. We feel it is critical that the NFL uses the power of our voice to educate and encourage fans who choose to gamble to do so in a safe and responsible way. We also recognise that responsible betting programs across the country are under-resourced, especially as legalisation spreads nationwide."
Keith Whyte, Executive Director of the Council, added: "We will be able to help so many more people as a result of this. The NFL has set an example for the other professional sports leagues who also need to realise their obligation to address the downside of sports betting as much as they embrace the upside."