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Fans cheer after the Baltimore Orioles defeated the Toronto Blue Jays at Oriole Park at Camden Yards.
Fans cheer after the Baltimore Orioles defeated the Toronto Blue Jays at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images via AFP.

Responsible gambling initiatives have become a hot-button issue as legal sports betting becomes more popular.

Three of North America's four major sports have teamed up to create a responsible gaming public service announcement directed at bettors using the best sportsbooks in the exploding U.S. market.

The NHL, NBA, and MLB created a spot titled "Never Know What’s Next,” which debuted during TNT's broadcast of Cleveland Cavaliers vs. Philadelphia 76ers on Tuesday night.

The 30-second commercial was also made with the cooperation of some of the best sports betting apps, including FanDuel, DraftKings, ESPN BET, and Fanatics Sportsbook.

The aim of the PSA

Collaboration and education on the potential issues surrounding problematic gambling are the focus of the initiative. It's supported by the National Council on Problem Gaming (NCPG).

The 30-second spot maintains that sports gambling “is a risk when you bet,” and brings together stories of both successful and unsuccessful sports bettors across all three leagues.

The campaign stresses that there is “no easy money, there’s no lock, and no one wins all the time” in sports betting. It closes with: “If you bet, bet responsibly, and always set a limit.”

What participating parties are saying

Representatives from all three included leagues were quick to promote the responsible gambling initiative collaboration.

“Working with our fellow sports leagues, gaming operator partners, and responsible gaming partners gives added weight – particularly for young bettors – to this shared priority of making an impact on responsible gaming education across the United States," NBA senior vice president head of gaming & new business ventures Scott Kaufman-Ross said. "Ensuring fans are aware of the inherent risk if they choose to bet and correcting the misconception that betting on sports is a good way to make money are integral to the NBA’s approach to legal sports betting.”

MLB senior vice president of business development Casey Brett added: “We’re incredibly proud to be a part of this important campaign alongside the NBA, NHL, and our operator partners.

"It’s paramount that when our fans bet, they know how to do so responsibly - and this initiative is just one small but important part of our continued commitment to ensuring sports betting stays safe for all who choose to wager.”

Meanwhile, NHL chief business officer Casey Brett echoed those statements.

“This campaign continues our ongoing commitment to educating fans about the importance of responsible betting," Brett said. "With more fans than ever having the opportunity to legally bet in their home states, it is imperative that we work with our media and sportsbook partners, as well as with our friends at the NBA and MLB, to inform and emphasize the risks and encourage the importance of setting limits and betting responsibly, especially among our growing fan base in the younger demographic.”

What about the NFL?

The only major North American sports league not taking part in the latest Responsible Gambling initiative is the NFL, which is the most popular sport at the best sports betting sites.

However, the NFL's "Stick to Your Game Plan" initiative actually beat the other three leagues to the punch. The league committed $6.2 million two years ago on its own campaign in an effort to educate the gambling public, prevent problem gambling, and create treatment programs for those affected by problem gambling.

It was a three-year partnership the league agreed to in 2021 with the NCPG.

“The NFL has been focused on responsible gaming for years - this is nothing new for us and frankly we have taken a leadership role in this area," an NFL spokesperson said.