Among issues confronting the US legal sports betting industry, particularly the web-based segment, is the test presented by offshore sportsbooks. The American Gaming Association (AGA) is calling for government intervention to target the unlicensed market. This segment, it asserts, is hindering the growth of the legal market. At the same time, while other countries are clamping down on gambling advertisements, the AGA cautions that advertising is the only thing that can separate the good from the bad.
Offshore Gambling Alive and Well in the US
Most operators yield that the offshore sites actually control most of the advanced games wagering market. Thus far, there’s been no significantly viable counter-methodology to prevent bettors from going to any alternative where they might feel they’re improving their odds, regardless of the legal status of the site.
AGA President Bill Miller responded to media inquiries on an assortment of themes last week after providing an update on the state of gambling in the US. He asserted, when asked about federal government involvement, that the government should crack down on offshore gambling like it did online poker in 2011. He suggested that the Department of Justice, the Department of State and other agencies should be involved.
Miller added, “This is the one area where we talk about what can the federal government do to help our industry. This is (a) really important (one).”
Ease Up On Advertising
For some time, there’s been a decent measure of conversation that the forceful feel of sports wagering in TV advertising could cause consternation on the part of consumers. This would, in turn, lead to greater federal intervention in gambling advertising.
In Europe and the UK, guardrails, regardless of whether willfully or forced, have been put in place for betting advertising. This, regulators assert, is due to a perceived inappropriate or overpowering nature of the commercials. Similar restrictions are expected for the US market, as well.
However, Miller cautions against it. He explained that getting legal sports wagering right is about moving clients from the offshore sites and into the protected, legal market. He asserted, “Look at New York and Louisiana (where online sports betting launched just prior to the Super Bowl). Does anybody reasonably think that millions of people just decided to try out sports betting for the first time last month? Of course not.”
Miller added, “Raising the awareness and attracting players to legal sportsbooks is how we protect consumers, generate needed tax revenue for states, and how we’ll stamp out the illegal market — and advertising has helped to fuel this change.”
The AGA’s boss is using a commonsense approach to manage an issue. However, whether that approach can be understood by lawmakers remains to be seen.
Erik brings his unique writing talents and storytelling flare to cover a wide range of gambling topics. He has written for a number of industry-related publications over the years, providing insight into the constantly evolving world of gaming. A huge sports fan, he especially enjoys football and anything related to sports gambling. Erik is particularly interested in seeing how sports gambling and online gaming are transforming the larger gaming ecosystem.
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