The Ugly Truth Behind All Those Fun Gambling Ads

by Jack O’Donnell

A Growing Problem

There are numerous studies that show a direct correlation between increased exposure to gambling advertising and problem gambling.

In 2021 online sports betting companies spent $725 million on ads, an increase from $292 million a year ago. With 18 new states legalizing sports betting just prior to the NFL season, there are now 30 states and Washington DC where betting is legal. 100 million people now can make wagers from their homes, on their phones.

In addition to the easy accessibility of gambling, the companies are using predatory advertising tactics to lure customers by presenting a “can’t lose” perception if they make a single bet.

Experienced and Credible

Jack O’Donnell, the CEO of C4 Recovery Foundation, has written a powerful article published in Politico this past Sunday. He argues that without intervention from regulators the gambling industry is not capable of self-regulation to halt what will surely be historic increase in gambling addiction.

O’Donnell is uniquely qualified to speak about both the gambling industry and the addiction field, as he has held CEO-level positions in both casino gaming and in the addiction and behavioral industry for over 40 years.

The solution O’Donnell believes is to restrict gambling companies from making false and misleading claims and prohibit advertising of odds and free bets. Something the industry will never do without intervention from policymakers. These restrictions would be similar to almost every other country that has legal gambling, and what has been required for tobacco companies in the U.S.

“We need to not glamorize gambling the way tobacco did to attract new and mostly young participants” O’Donnell claims.

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