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AGA New Code Update Bars ‘Risk-Free Bets’ and College Partnerships

The American Gaming Association (AGA) has updated its Responsible Marketing Code for Sports Wagering to include bans on risk-free bets and most partnerships with universities and colleges. The changes come as US sportsbooks come under increasing pressure from state lawmakers to ban the controversial marketing techniques anyways.

Under the terms of the new code, operators would be barred from entering partnerships with colleges and universities that promote gambling to the student body. The code does allow sportsbooks to continue entering partnerships with alumni groups and to promote safe gambling content to students. While operator/university partnerships have been effective marketing tools, they were seen by many critics to be promoting gambling to vulnerable students, many of whom were not of age to legally gamble anyways.

The AGA’s new code also includes a ban on name, image, likeness (NIL) deals with student athletes. Though NIL deals with operators are not common at all, the trade group apparently wanted to stay ahead of the issue by banning them now.

Also forbidden under the new code is the common-but-controversial marketing technique involving risk-free bets. Risk-free bets generally involve a player risking real money and earning site credits should that bet lose. This particular technique has been under fire nationally. Several states, including Massachusetts, have banned the practice already anyways.

AGA CEO Bill Miller described the importance of the code and its updates in a recent statement saying, “Advertising plays an essential role in migrating consumers away from predatory illegal sportsbooks and into the protections of the legal, regulated market while providing responsible gaming resources. The AGA and our members are committed to building a sustainable marketplace that protects vulnerable populations and gives consumers the knowledge and tools to keep sports betting fun for adults.”

The AGA’s new marketing code goes into effect on July 1.