State regulators in multiple US sports betting jurisdictions are aware of apparel at Betr headquarters that apparently attempted to mock the problem gambling hotline.
A photo of a sweatshirt featuring the Betr logo, along with the 1-800-GAMBLER number, was taken by journalist Ethan Strauss, and it appeared in his latest US sports betting article.
“We have always found Betr executives to be very supportive of responsible gambling,” National Council on Problem Gambling executive director Keith Whyte told LSR. “And we look forward to working with them on innovative responsible gambling concepts such as branded merchandise. However, the clothing prototype seen in the article is not for sale or distribution.”
LSR has reached out to Betr for comment but not received a response.
What is this Betr issue?
The Cavinder tour was a pretext for such content, with “social producer” Caroline, a 23-year-old just out of the University of Miami, presiding over how this all gets broadcast to the world. She showed off a rack of Betr merch, including hoodies that featured dice emblazoned with the Betr logo, above a 1-800-GAMBLER hotline.
It’s a real hotline, for people with real gambling problems, but this display is ironic, like those D.A.R.E shirts that mid-aughts stoners might wear. “We always believe in being responsible!” Carol said with a grin.
Tough optics for Betr in article
The article also cited an anonymous quote from a Betr manager, who was asked why the company had an edge over Barstool.
Because we’re younger, we’re hungrier, we’ve got Jake Paul and we’re addicted to gambling.
US sports betting regulators comment
It is unclear whether Betr will face any repercussions for the apparel. State regulators in Massachusetts and Ohio have some of the toughest advertising regulations in the country.
Multiple states where Betr has launched acknowledged that they were aware of the situation:
A spokesperson for the MA Gaming Commission told LSR:
“As you know, any conversation the Commissioners would have on an operator’s advertising practices would have to take place during a public meeting. I would note that operators and their third-party affiliates must comply with the laws and regulations governing sports wagering in the Commonwealth and that operators are responsible for the content their affiliates distribute on their behalf.”
A spokesperson for the OH Casino Control Commission told LSR:
“The Commission expects licensees to follow all applicable laws and rules – including those pertaining to advertising/promotions and responsible gambling. Additionally, any entity marketing on behalf of a sports gaming proprietor or services provider must adhere to the Commission’s most current advertising standards, unless explicitly stated otherwise. Failure of any affiliate marketer to do so may be held against the proprietor or services provider.
“The Commission regularly checks to ensure operators are in compliance with all rules and regulations (including those for advertising and promotions). The Commission welcomes tips/information if someone is concerned a violation has occurred, and will take appropriate action when needed.”
A spokesperson for the Virginia Lottery said:
“The Virginia Lottery takes its commitment to responsible gaming seriously. In our regulatory role over sports wagering in the Commonwealth, our responsibility is to ensure that sportsbook operators comply with the regulations. … We are aware of this and are looking into it.”
Betr stance on responsible gaming
Betr has received praise within the responsible gambling community for banning credit cards, and imposing deposit limits on its younger betting demographic.
The company was the only applicant for an online MA sports betting license that did not receive unanimous approval. It still passed by a 4-1 vote, even though commissioner Eileen O’Brien voted against Betr.
O’Brien explained then:
“I was conflicted on this application,” O’Brien said. “I see the merits, the positives and the negatives. But at the end of the day, I have concerns, particularly about the last criterion, in terms of, on balance, whether the overall benefits minimize the harms and risks.
“I have concerns about the demographic and tying of a sports celebrity to a group that is in that vulnerable age group. I wish we were seeing this applicant a little later on down the road. And so for those reasons I’m ‘nay.’”