The NCPG Board of Directors today adopted a resolution on the legalization of sports betting. Recognizing NCPG’s neutrality on legalized gambling, the resolution calls on leagues, regulators, legislators and the media to make sure gambling addiction is addressed in any discussion of the expansion of sports betting. NCPG Executive Director Keith Whyte noted: “Right now companies who operate legal sports books and states who regulate them have the opportunity to demonstrate they have in place comprehensive and innovative responsible gaming programs tailored to sports bettors. Leagues and teams should have prevention and education programs in place to protect the health of athletes and staff as well as the integrity of the game. And the media, who currently widely promote betting lines on a variety of professional and amateur sporting events, effectively giving free advertising space to promote gambling, should consider promoting the Problem Gambling Helpline as well.” In addition, proponents of legalization should have concrete plans and funding in place to mitigate the negative impacts of increased betting on sports, including possible increases in gambling addiction.
Adopted February 27, 2017
Whereas, the National Council on Problem Gambling (NCPG) is neutral on legalized gambling,
including gambling on sporting events;
Whereas, a limited amount of legal and a vast amount of illegal sports betting occurs across
Whereas, sports betting is often associated problem gambling;
Whereas, NCPG has concerns about the impact of gambling on the health of athletes, as
research indicates that athletes are more likely to be at risk for addictions;
Whereas, youth are already frequently exposed to advertising for legal gambling through
league and team sponsorship and endorsement deals, as well as advertising and promotion for
unregulated offshore gambling in media and online outlets;
Whereas, NCAA has found that most student athletes who gamble started long before they
came to college;
Whereas, preventing and treating gambling addiction among players protects their health and
the integrity of the game;
Whereas, expansion will likely increase availability and acceptability of sports gambling and
thus increase participation, which may lead to more gambling problems;
Whereas, any expansion of gambling must be accompanied by increased support for addiction
prevention and treatment programs;
Whereas, expansion of gambling at the state level has not been uniformly accompanied by
appropriate—or in some cases any—funds to prevent or treat gambling addiction;
Whereas, current public problem gambling prevention and treatment services—especially for
youth—are insufficient in most states and nonexistent in many.
NCPG calls upon all stakeholders in the debate over legalized sports gambling to recognize the
potential impact on gambling addiction.
NCPG believes the expansion of legalized sports gambling in the United States will likely
increase gambling participation and problems unless the following steps are taken to minimize
Ensure that any expansion of sports gambling includes dedicated funds to prevent and treat
Require sports betting operators to implement responsible gaming programs which include
comprehensive employee training, self-exclusion, ability to set limits on time and money spent
betting, specific requirements for the inclusion of help/prevention messages in external
marketing, and assign a regulatory agency to enforce them.
Conduct surveys of the prevalence of gambling addiction prior to expansion and at regular
periods thereafter to monitor impacts of legalized sports betting.
Establish a consistent minimum age for sports gambling and related fantasy games.
Establish specific gambling addiction prevention and education programs for youth athletes
prior to high school all the way through college and into professional sports.
Ensure that athletes and personnel have a safe harbor to seek help for gambling related
problems, and qualified Employee Assistance Programs and counseling personnel available to provide assistance.
Provide mandatory educational briefings to players and team personnel on team/league policy
regarding gambling risks and where to get help for gambling problems.
Utilize their high-profile opportunities in the media to help send responsible gaming messages
to their fans and the public at large.
Join NCPG to help maintain our nationwide safety net and build prevention and treatment
programs specific to sports gambling.
Promote the National Problem Gambling Helpline (800-522-4700) Network as a public service in
every newspaper and media outlet which prints or publicizes betting lines or odds.
Include the Helpline on printed or downloadable gambling documents or forms, such as
brackets for March Madness or other tournaments.