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Gambling Industry Group Bans University Partnerships

Published: June 26, 2023

With sports betting currently one of the forms of gambling that is most commonly advertised to college students — including some students who are under the legal gambling age of 21 — the question of how sports betting impacts colleges and college athletics is now being answered by a new marketing code from the American Gaming Association (AGA), the industry’s main trade group. 

Announced in March, the code bans sportsbooks from partnering with colleges to promote betting and prohibits payments to college and amateur athletes for using their names, images, or likenesses in connection with betting, according to ESPN and the Associated Press (AP). The code also ends the use of words like “risk-free” in connection with sports betting and restricts advertising only to media in which at least 73.6% of the audience is 21 or older. 

“It has always been important that we get sports betting right,” said Bill Miller, president and CEO of the AGA to the AP. “It’s always been our No. 1 interest in creating a high bar for responsible advertising and protecting consumers.”

All members of the AGA have agreed to the new code, which comes at a time when several states have begun to evaluate whether to ban or heavily regulate sports betting advertising and university partnerships. Some states have already introduced bills that would prohibit university partnerships, and one bill introduced by a New York congressman would have even banned all forms of advertising related to sports betting. 

The National Council on Problem Gambling (NCPG) applauded the code, which establishes a new national standard covering all states where sports betting is legal, including Ohio. Several colleges in other states have already inked deals with sportsbooks, at least one of which includes referral bonuses where the college is paid when one of their students places a bet. But those partnerships will be rolled back by July 1, 2023 under the new code. 

“The AGA’s code is an important standard for the gambling industry, and we are glad to hear about these updates,” Keith Whyte, executive director of the NCPG, told the AP. “The code is so important because many sports fans are underage, and we also know that people who gamble on sports have higher rates of gambling problems.”

With many college students in Ohio being exposed to sports betting, even with the introduction of this new code, helping raise awareness about responsible gambling practices is more important than ever, and Before You Bet has assembled a toolkit of resources to help. The toolkit includes fliers, print ads, billboards, social media posts, and more to help spread the word about responsible gambling on college campuses throughout Ohio. 

Community or college organizations can even request co-branded resources, so you can share them in a way that’s recognizable to students. By helping promote responsible gambling practices among your college community, you can have a hand in promoting responsible practices and getting help to those in need. 

And if you or a college student that you know has questions about your gambling and sports betting habits, do not hesitate to call the free and confidential, 24/7 Ohio Problem Gambling Helpline at 1-800-589-9966 or text 4HOPE to 741741.

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