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Gambling industry urges sports bettors to wager responsibly

An ad for the American Gaming Association is seen tested on a screen after an NHL hockey game between the Washington Capitals and the Philadelphia Flyers, Wednesday, March 4, 2020, in Washington. The gambling industry is launching a campaign to urge sports bettors to wager responsibly, including setting and sticking to a budget, and learning thoroughly about anything on which they make a bet. The gaming association on Thursday launched its "Have A Game Plan" campaign in hockey arenas in Washington and Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)
An ad for the American Gaming Association is seen tested on a screen after an NHL hockey game between the Washington Capitals and the Philadelphia Flyers, Wednesday, March 4, 2020, in Washington. The gambling industry is launching a campaign to urge sports bettors to wager responsibly, including setting and sticking to a budget, and learning thoroughly about anything on which they make a bet. The gaming association on Thursday launched its "Have A Game Plan" campaign in hockey arenas in Washington and Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Nick Wass) (Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. – The gambling industry is launching a campaign to urge sports bettors to wager responsibly, including setting and sticking to a budget, and learning thoroughly about anything on which they make a bet.

The American Gaming Association on Thursday launched its “Have A Game Plan” campaign in hockey arenas in Washington and Las Vegas.

The campaign will soon expand to other states where sports betting is legal. Fourteen states currently offer sports betting, and many others are considering it.

The gaming association says Americans have bet more than $19 billion on sports with licensed sports books since the U.S. Supreme Court cleared the way for it in May 2018, ruling in a case brought by New Jersey.

But the campaign is an acknowledgment that sports betting can be problematic — or worse — for some people.

Neva Pryor, executive director of the Council on Compulsive Gambling of New Jersey, said calls to her state's 1-800-GAMBLER help line are up more than 27% over last year. Of that amount, more than 14% of callers said they have a problem controlling their betting on sports, she said.

“This is a watershed moment for sports betting in the United States,” said Bill Miller, president and CEO of gambling industry's trade group. “Roughly 100 million Americans will be able to legally wager on sports in their state by the end of this year. It’s more important than ever that the gaming industry, and our new partners in the sports betting ecosystem, are proactive in equipping patrons with the tools they need to engage in these offerings in a responsible manner.”

The initial campaign includes advertising on the boards near the ice at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, where they are likely to be included in broadcasts and still photos of the game, and illuminated signs inside pedestrian corridors at Washington's Capital One Arena.

“When it comes to legal sports betting, nothing can be more important than responsibility,” said Jim Van Stone, president of Monumental Sports & Entertainment, which owns the Washington Capitols and the arena in which they play.

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