NBA Banning Betting Partners From Advertising ‘Risk-Free’ Bonuses

  • The ban will cover any ads appearing on a team or league-controlled platform
  • Some regulators in the US have been banning operators from using terms like “risk-free”
  • “Risk-free” bets usually just refund a losing bet with bet credits, not cash
  • NBA has embraced the sports betting sector while also actively promoting responsible gambling
Basketball going through hoop
The NBA will soon forbid betting partners from advertising promotions that use the term “risk-free.” [Image:]

Changing its policy

The NBA is planning to prohibit its gambling partners from advertising bonuses that are described as being “risk-free.” This ban is set to take effect by next season, according to a Sports Business Journal report, which gives operators sufficient time to adjust their advertising materials.

cover any ads that appear on team or league-controlled platforms

The ban will cover any ads that appear on team or league-controlled platforms, with the hope that broadcasters will also follow suit. This restriction not only covers official NBA sponsors like DraftKings and FanDuel, but any other sportsbooks that advertise through team or league platforms.

Clamping down

Some gambling regulators in the US have been clamping down on sports betting operators using terms like “risk-free.” Massachusetts and Ohio regulators, for instance, have introduced a ban on the use of the term. Numerous operators have since stopped using this term as part of their advertising efforts across the country; FanDuel now uses the term “sweat-free”, while DraftKings, Caesars, and BetMGM now use terms like “bonus bets” or “bet credits.”

instead of refunding it in cash, it will usually be in the form of a free bet credit

Operators in the US and elsewhere have long used “risk-free” to describe certain promotions and is a core part of an operator’s strategy in attracting new signups. Typically with risk-free promotions, a sportsbook operator will give the customer their stake back if their first qualifying bet is a loser, but instead of refunding it in cash, it will usually be in the form of a free bet credit.

Promoting responsible betting

Speaking about banning the advertising of “risk-free” bets, NBA senior vice president and head of new business ventures & gaming Scott Kaufman-Ross said that “We believe it’s a problematic term from a responsible gaming and a problem gaming standpoint.”

He believes that fans should be fully aware of all risks attached to engaging in sports betting and that the use of a term like “risk-free” can muddy the waters in that regard. Kaufman-Ross feels that the industry as a whole is trending away from using these types of terms and that the NBA can be one of the leaders for change.

BetMGM, DraftKings, and Caesars were fined in Ohio for using certain banned terms when advertising to potential customers during the first week of legal sports betting in the state.

While the NBA has arguably embraced sports betting more than any other major sports league in the US, it also places an emphasis on promoting responsible betting. Just a couple of weeks ago, the NBA revealed that it was joining an American Gaming Association (AGA) public service campaign called “Have a Game Plan. Bet Responsibly.”

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