SNL Just Put the Sports Betting World on Blast

This past weekend (February 24 2024) NBC’s Saturday Night Live put the sports betting industry on blast by producing a skit to parody sports betting ads and the industry as a whole. “Rock Bottom Kings” was a surprisingly poignant commentary not just on the hyperexcited performances of actors used in these ads, but on how far problem gamblers will go to chase the high along with the predacious nature of gambling advertising and the products being offered by operators.

While it may seem overtly hyperbolic, the play on how bettors can wager on how their “degenerate gambler friends” will lose it all is not so far-fetched. In a summer of 2023 problem gambling news release, we reported on how bookmakers posted betting odds for a famous rapper’s double murder trial verdict among other crass props.

The country has adopted a gamble on anything culture that makes Rock Bottom Kings less of a comedic parody and more of a tragic discourse. The skit touched on the number of betting options that are used to entice gamblers while systematically reducing their (players) odds of winning. Parlays have been designed explicitly for this purpose, make no bones about it. Further, the skit’s pseudo-empathetic tone of “Addiction is a real problem, and we take it very seriously” is on point with Responsible Gaming disclaimers that are tucked into the spectacle of cash, gold, fireworks, and explosions in sports betting commercials.

SNL’s Rock Bottom Kings is coming off the heels of a new movement in America. As sports betting advertising has been allowed to go rather unchecked since the removal of the federal ban (2018), acknowledgement of the dangers it poses by certain members of the media may finally be catching up. A few months ago, Men’s Health shook the nest when they shined a big spotlight on the sports betting crisis amongst American males. Then earlier this month (February 2024) 60-Minutes aired an exposé that would shred the veil regarding the effectiveness of Responsible Gaming as it pertains to online sports betting. And while it’s good to see insightful periodicals and hard-hitting investigative reports take on the mental health crisis, SNL may have delivered the most accurate assessment of many operators’ lack of responsibility regarding the unhealthy relationship a segment of their players has with their products. Once pop culture gets ahold of something, the court of public opinion tends to follow suit.

Stay tuned for more.

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