My Thoughts on “Problem Gambling” Ads
“These ads are a disgrace and an insult. Either apply the same standards to everyone and all business sectors, or stop running them.”
I watched an NFL game last night. During a break, there was a commercial about problem gambling. It was a so-called “public-service announcement.” We’ve all seen ads like this. “Stick to your game plan.” “Know when to quit.” “Bet with your head, not over it.” “C’mon Packers, cover the pointspread!” Oh, wait, not that one.
These ads are a waste of time and money. But I also understand why sports leagues and gambling companies feel compelled to run them. They’re a PR tool. Warnings are a disclaimer. They provide plausible deniability when regulators and/or legislative bodies start asking questions. What exactly are the beneficiaries of legalized gambling doing to prevent abuses and addiction? That’s when sports leagues and gambling companies point to these ads and say — look, we’ve done our part. Yeah, right.
What I don’t get is this: Where were all the public service announcements on cryptocurrency? Why wasn’t the gullible public warned about the pitfalls of making such high-risk investments? That cesspool of a financial market cost *MILLIONS* of people *HUNDREDS OF BILLIONS* of dollars — far worse damage than any casino or sportsbook. Crypto “investments” probably lost 20 times more than any cumulative sports betting figures. Maybe more. Some crypto exchanges even advised people to plunge their retirement savings into crypto. Like a leap of faith jumping off a crackpipe. Where were the warnings? Why aren’t these predators held accountable?
Those ads were created and paid for by crypto companies. They hired Lebron James, Tom Brady, and Matt Damon. They lectured us about “the future” and “new worlds” while pimping funny money. Now, the greedship lollipop slammed into an iceberg and nobody’s laughing (okay, confession–I’m laughing). So. why aren’t these public figures held accountable? Shouldn’t they bear some responsibility? Shouldn’t the credibility of celebrities who attach their names and faces to scammers and scumbags suffer? I think those celebrity endorsers should be toxic to future advertisers, or at least they should be (and the same applies to the poker crowd, if you recall the online poker scandals).
Of course, don’t expect warning ads or any public service announcements from crypto companies. Or, giant banks that beg us to take on more credit card debt. Or, soft drink and fast food companies that plow us with garbage that makes us fat and drives diabetes rates into a national health crisis. Nope, you’ll never see a warning about any of those things. But hey, betting $50 on the Packers game — now, that’s a slippery slope. A gateway to addiction.
My opinion: These ads are a disgrace and an insult. Either apply the same standards to everyone and all business sectors, or stop running them.
Just say NO.