NBA, MLB, NHL Join Forces to Create New Responsible Gambling Ad Spot

USA Legal Betting


  • The new ad shows players making and missing big plays
  • The ad’s narrator says that nothing in sports betting is a guarantee, and every bet is a risk
  • The rise of sports betting has led to suspensions within sports leagues and inspired general concern

If the last five years have proven anything, it’s that sports fans love to gamble. But as more states join the world of legal sports betting, America’s top professional sports leagues are reminding fans to be responsible with their money.

 That’s the message shared in a new 30-second advertisement called “Never Know What’s Next.” The ad was created by the NBA, MLB, and NHL in partnership with online sportsbooks FanDuel, ESPN Bet, DraftKings, and Fanatics, as well as the National Council on Problem Gambling (NCPG).

The ad encourages sports bettors to set limits while wagering to manage their bankroll instead of falling victim to impulse betting and engaging in dangerous behaviors.

Encouraging safe behaviors 

The ad made its first television appearance on TNT and social media pages of the NBA, MLB, and NHL during Tuesday’s NBA In-Season Tournament matchup between the Cleveland Cavaliers and Philadelphia 76ers.

The ad’s B roll consists of players both making and missing big plays in their respective sports. The message is that nothing in sports betting is a guarantee, and every wager is a risk.

“[Threre’s] no easy money, there’s no lock, and no one wins all the time,” the narrator of the ad says. “If you bet, bet responsibly, and always set a limit.” 

The ad also encourages gamblers to visit the NCPG’s Responsible Play website, which offers tips to identify problem gambling behaviors, ideas on how to control them, and resources to contact if problematic behaviors persist.

“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,” said Scott Kaufman-Ross, NBA Senior Vice President Head of Gaming & New Business Ventures, per the NBA’s website. 

“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.”

The timing of the ad is important. The NBA’s In-Season Tournament might only be in its inaugural year, but it’s introduced more competition than standard regular-season games and has made games more enticing betting prospects. Plus, it’s opened up a range of new betting markets, including group winners, tournament winner, and more. 

The launch of ESPN Bet will also inevitably put sports betting in front of even more eyes thanks to ESPN’s connections and audience, including a group of more casual sports fans who did not engage in sports betting.

Hearing from the leagues 

The ad is only part of the sports leagues’ efforts to reinforce responsible behaviors for its gambling patronage. Past legends such as Tom Brady, Ray Allen, and others have spoken about the dangers of problem gambling and encouraged athletes and fans to take the proper steps to ensure their safety.

“We’re incredibly proud to be a part of this important campaign alongside the NBA, NHL and our operator partners,” said Casey Brett, MLB Senior Vice President, Business Development.  “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.”

“This campaign continues our ongoing commitment to educating fans about the importance of responsible betting,” added Keith Wachtel, NHL Chief Business Officer.  “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 fanbase in the younger demographic.”

The rise of sports betting has already led to several suspensions across the leagues. NFL players including Isaiah Rodgers Sr., Eyioma Uwazurike, and others were suspended for a variety of infractions, while the NHL recently suspended Shane Pinto for 41 games, making him the first NHL player to be dealt a sports betting-related suspension.

The American Gaming Association said earlier this year that 39.2 million people placed a sports bet within the last 12 months.

75% of respondents to a NCPG aged 18-24 said that they thought sports betting was a great way to make money or were unsure, despite a majority of bettors failing to turn a profit on the books.

Grant is a sports and sports betting journalist who prides himself in his up-to-the-minute reporting on the latest events in the industry. A member of Virginia Tech’s 2021 graduating class, he has quickly put together an impressive portfolio since moving to the professional world full-time. Grant’s favorite sports to cover are basketball and both types of football (American and soccer), and he is pushing written, audio, and video content. He has been employed by companies as highly regarded as Forbes and continues on a great trajectory in the industry. When he’s not on the clock, you can find Grant at the gym, looking for adventures, or hanging out with his family.