For Bill Miller, President and CEO of the American Gaming Association (AGA), the US sports betting industry must promote the right messaging to sports followers as it continues its public education initiatives.

Speaking to SBC’s Erin Gallagher at the SBC Summit North America in New Jersey, Miller highlighted the need for operators to promote services as a form of adult entertainment and not as a means to make money, pointing to the AGA’s ‘Have a Game Plan, Bet Responsibly’ campaign.

“It’s brand new legally in every state except for Nevada, and so in-game betting is something that consumers are not probably that familiar with, but it’s going to create a whole new opportunity for fan engagement – I think that that’s really exciting. 

“As we continue to educate fans about what it is that sports betting is and then importantly, it’s a fun thing to do socially with your friends and family and it’s not a way to make money – that’s important.”

Continuing to focus on the importance of promoting a responsible message for the continued sustainability and stability of the US betting market, Miller noted that this sentiment must also be expanded to partner organisations, notably sports leagues and teams.

“I think that responsibility and responsible gambling is core to our success. Importantly, we’ve been doing it as an industry for the last 30 years and it’s the reason why in the US the American public believes that we are responsible. 

“We start with goodwill with the American public, and the political public, which are both two really important populations, and so as we lay our sports betting in, we need to make sure that responsibility is core to that endeavour.”

As sports teams and leagues are playing a key role in the expansion of the North American gaming space through sponsorship arrangements – which they also mutually benefit from financially – Miller underscored the need for these organisations to embrace responsible messaging also.

This, he asserted, would help avert situations which have been encountered in European countries such as Spain – where professional clubs are prohibited from partnering with operators – and in the UK, where a ban on gambling sponsorships in the Premier League has been identified as a probable outcome of the overhaul of the country’s betting regulations.

He also commented on the progress of the ‘Have a Game Plan’ messaging, saying: “We’ve got 20 partners now we’ve got leagues and teams and broadcasters that are partnering with us to ensure that what we’re doing in 2022 and beyond keeps us in that place where the American public believes that we have responsibility at the forefront of building a sustainable and enduring fun business.”

Lastly, the AGA leader also emphasised the significance of the diminishing illegal market in the US since the repeal of PASPA, enabling bettors to choose regulated and licenced channels instead of illicit black market options.

He went on to reference his extensive experience in governmental and public sector roles, comparing past developments in the US with the rapid expansion of the country’s legal betting industry.

“We are still in the early stages of sports betting here in the United States, with now 32 states plus the District of Columbia being legal,” he remarked

“This is a new business, it’s a new industry and as someone who has spent most of my life either in government or advising the government, quite frankly I’ve never seen anything move as quickly in this country.

“We’ve got to make sure that we get it right and should be really excited that we’re moving people from the illegal market into the legal market.”

SBC North America: AGA’s Bill Miller underscores importance of fan education