Michiganders who’ve been seeing online gambling ads for more than two years have probably also viewed the state regulator’s “Don’t Regret the Bet” commercials during the same NFL games. Those public service ads offering problem gambling prevention tools will continue into 2024, Sandra Johnson told Bonus on Oct. 10.
Johnson, who heads the Michigan Gaming Control Board (MGCB)‘s responsible gaming section, spoke to Bonus today about the responsible gaming marketing campaign.
It began in March 2023, during Problem Gambling Awareness Month. By Sept. 20, 2023, MGCB was announcing the campaign had earned the regulator and its marketing agency two awards. That MGCB statement during Responsible Gaming Education Month said “Don’t Regret the Bet” received a 2023 Platinum Viddy Award and a Platinum dotCOMM Award. [UPDATE: On Oct. 23, the MGCB sent out a press release about its most recent honor — a 2023 Platinum MarCom Award.]
In the Sept. 20 award announcement, MGCB Executive Director Henry Williams said:
We knew from the beginning of our partnership with King Media that we would be able to develop an effective, recognizable, and impactful responsible gaming messaging campaign. Winning two platinum-level international awards now, back-to-back within two months’ time, proves that ‘Don’t Regret the Bet’ is just the beginning of our climb and a shining example of what a successful integrated marketing campaign looks like. The MGCB staff is most appreciative of Coleen King and her talented staff for rolling up their sleeves and working alongside us on this endeavor to prevent Michiganders from developing a problem with gambling.
Michigan online casinos, poker sites, and sportsbooks partner with 15 licensees to serve those of gambling age among the state’s 10 million residents.
Since online casino, poker, and sports betting sites launched in Michigan on Jan. 22, 2021, the Wolverine State has been among the top online gambling revenue states. In August 2023, Michigan’s online casino and poker sites alone generated $152.2 million in gross gaming revenue. Only New Jersey and Pennsylvania iGaming operators outpaced that total.
All Ads Lead to DontRegretTheBet.org
“Don’t Regret the Bet” ads led viewers to the site, DontRegretTheBet.org.
Visitors came from all around. Nearly 16,000 site guests arrived from Facebook and Instagram ads. Others may have received materials at in-person events. Another group may have heard podcast messages while driving past billboards, on their way to gas stations where “Don’t Regret the Bet” ads played.
Among the nearly 60,000 visitors were those who then called the Michigan Problem Gambling Helpline at 1-800-270-7117.
However, many stayed on the site.
There, if they scrolled past the animated image of a seated man surrounded by shark fins as he gambled on his smartphone, website visitors saw the fins retreat to a wider orbit around the man.
By the time scrolling site guests reached the “Avoid the Regret” tips, the “Truth or Myth” fact sheet, and the “Are You Playing It Smart?” quiz, the sharks were gone.
If those seeking help opted to skip those three pieces of content, they reached the bottom of the home page. There, they could pick between five downloads, which 401 individuals did.
Or they could immediately click on “more help.”
The latter moves them to the MGCB’s Responsible Gaming page. That page includes resources like self-exclusion options.
‘Don’t Regret the Bet’ Q&A With Sandra Johnson
Johnson elaborated on the Michigan regulator’s award-winning responsible gaming marketing campaign’s results.
Doing so is rare in the online gambling industry. One of the most recent examples is a 2021 RG case study Bonus published that quotes Conscious Gaming.
Questions from Bonus about the MGCB case study are in bold.
Johnson’s answers immediately follow those questions.
When did this campaign start?
On March 6 and in step with Problem Gambling Prevention Month, the Michigan Gaming Control Board launched its “Don’t Regret the Bet” campaign to encourage Michigan residents to wager responsibly when using the state’s many forms of legal, regulated gambling. The multimedia campaign is helping the agency reach a broader audience across the state on various platforms — including broadcast TV and radio advertising, point-of-sale video ads at gas stations, digital billboards, and social media, as well as streaming services and podcasts.
When will it end in 2024?
As part of the Michigan Legislature’s Fiscal Year 2024 state budget agreement, an allocated $3 million of ongoing, annual funding will support the continuation of the MGCB’s “Don’t Regret the Bet” responsible gaming messaging campaign. The campaign is expected to continue, allowing the agency to help support those we serve by addressing the issue of problem gambling through education and awareness.
When and where do you air your commercials?
The Michigan Gaming Control Board works with King Media, a prominent public relations firm headquartered in East Lansing and led by Coleen King, on its award-winning “Don’t Regret the Bet” campaign and associated digital outreach and marketing efforts.
Targeted to Michiganders age 18-plus, three commercials air across the state on various platforms — including broadcast TV and radio advertising, point-of-sale video ads at gas stations, digital billboards, and social media, as well as streaming services and podcasts:
- Gambling ads hard to ignore? … – Michigan Gaming Control Board | Facebook
- If you choose to gamble, stay in … – Michigan Gaming Control Board | Facebook
- Online gambling can be fun, but it … – Michigan Gaming Control Board | Facebook
King Media manages all our advertising efforts and keeps a proactive eye out for opportunities to broaden the campaign’s reach during predicted, key times of increased engagement (NFL games, college football games, etc.) and we rely on their expertise to guide our outreach efforts.
What sort of tracking did you do to show effectiveness?
King Media experts are constantly researching different audiences and target markets and tailoring our advertising efforts accordingly. They also provide us with regular, weekly updates on metrics and reach — including reach analyses and detailed reports that detail and illustrate impressions, reach, link clicks, click-through rates, ad plays, and more — for the various platforms and outreach methods being utilized. The campaign continues to exceed all expectations and established benchmarks, so we know it’s having an impact and delivering on results.