Too Many Sports Betting and Gambling Ads on TV?

You can no longer watch a football, basketball, baseball, or hockey (etc.) game on TV without being inundated with advertising for online sports betting apps and websites. It has become a problem for problem gamblers and casual sports fans alike. For the former, the consequences are immediately dire, but it also puts the latter at-risk. Even parents are concerned about their children’s’ future as sports betting ads have become as common as those for Doritos, if not more so.

The NFL allows TV networks to show up to six sportsbook commercials per game, while recent reports find that sports betting ads filled about 12 percent of commercial inventory for certain NHL broadcasts. One could make a game of counting the number shown during the next NBA broadcast or stream, but don’t. Research shows that increased exposure to gambling can lead to gambling disorder in a similar manner to how increased exposure to drugs and alcohol can lead to substance abuse. 

Are there too many sports betting ads on TV? Yes, there are. And it is our duty as the USA’s online resource for gambling disorder therapy to step in with tips to mitigating your risk amidst the epidemic of gambling advertising. Without further ado, here they are.

6 Tips to Reducing Exposure to Problem Gambling Triggers Caused by the Increase of Sports Betting Ads on TV

1. Mute and Step Away During Commercial Breaks

Mute the TV, get up, and leave the room at every single break in the broadcast. Set your smartphone timer to countdown 2-minutes and 20-seconds, which is the exact length of time of commercial breaks in an NFL game (for example). Do the same during in-game intermissions and halftimes for nationally televised games. Below is a time period breakdown for the most popular U.S. leagues:

  • NFL Quarter Intermission: 2-minutes
  • NFL Halftime (regular season): 13-minutes
  • NBA Quarter Intermission: 2-minutes 30-seconds
  • NBA Halftime: 15-minutes
  • NCAAB Halftime: 15-minutes
  • NCAAF Quarter Intermission: 1-minute
  • NCAAF Halftime: 15-minutes
  • NHL Period Intermission: 17-minutes
  • MLB Breaks Between Innings: 2-minutes 25-seconds

Getting up from the sofa and leaving the room is not only good for reducing gambling ad exposure, it’s good for your physical health. Experts state that you should take a break from sitting every 30 minutes, so your battle against gambling ads is beneficial for your musculoskeletal health too. It’s a win-win!

2. Mute the Commentary

You cannot escape in-game gambling discussion by avoiding commercial breaks alone. Announcers and commentators are constantly talking about betting odds, line moves, and gambling related terms during broadcasts. If you’re especially vulnerable (as an at-risk gambler) be sure to mute the broadcast commentary. You can still watch the game on TV, but run an audible by running audio through satellite radio or another digital channel.

3. Block Access to Gambling Platforms

You may not find it practical to get up and walk away, and/or mute commentary. We get it. However, to ensure a gambling trigger (exposure to a sports betting ad) doesn’t result in an online wager, delete all sports betting and fantasy apps from your smartphones and tablets. Furthermore, return to every online sportsbook in your browser history, and email the operator to inform them that you are opting-in for permanent self-exclusion. By law, they must abide by your request. Take it a step further by downloading Gamban to your web-enabled devices. Gamban is a software that blocks access to gambling apps and websites.

4. Call a Gambling Disorder Counselor

If everything above induces anxiety and/or you simply don’t trust yourself to initiate and sustain the required steps, then get in touch with a professional before the next big game. A counselor who specializes in the treatment and therapy of problem gambling knows what you’re going through. They are highly trained for these situations, and can help. Moreover, they don’t judge, and will create a safe and welcoming environment. Learn more about what gambling disorder therapists can do for you.

5. Join a Support Group

As an at-risk gambler, you’re not alone in your concern about the epidemic of sports betting ads on TV. Connect to others who are going through the same thing you are before next week’s schedule of games. View more about online support groups for gambling disorder.

6. Breathe and Redirect

Gambling ads on TV aren’t going anywhere for the foreseeable future. If it all becomes too much to handle the next time your watching the game (or before/after) take a moment – and breathe. Do so deeply, for 30-minutes while the temptation to gamble passes. Redirect your attention by diving into some other (healthier) activity during these moments of weakness. Repetition creates new synapses in your brain that form new habits and replace the old ones. If you do this consistently, you will wiggle free from the hold that gambling has over your life.

Problem and At-Risk Gamblers:

CALL +1 (877) 426-4258


Email [email protected]