Gambling problems are as real as any other addiction in bracing spot from Minnesota

Preston Spire’s hard-hitting metaphor aims to counter the raft of pro-gambling TV advertising

Published On
Jul 13, 2023
A man appearing to smoke a deck of cards

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The explosion in sports betting since 2018, when the Supreme Court struck down a federal ban on it across most of the country, has come at a significant cost. The sudden ease of placing bets almost anywhere has led untold numbers of people to develop gambling problems.

Now, the Minnesota Alliance on Problem Gambling is fighting back with a spot that addresses one frustrating misconception in particular—that gambling addiction is somehow not as real, or as destructive, as addiction to alcohol or drugs.


The spot, directed by Rachel Knoll at Plural Films, was made by Minneapolis agency Preston Spire. The creative team there said the dark approach is meant to serve as a stark contrast to the avalanche of colorful, fun sports betting ads from the likes of DraftKings and FanDuel.

“Our focus was to produce a visual that pulls back the curtain on what a gambling addiction really is and what it looks like,” said Brett Essman, creative director at Preston Spire. “Most importantly, we wanted our metaphor to resonate emotionally and be remembered by the people who need help.”

“It’s a fact that problem gambling is a real addiction, just as serious as an alcohol or drug addiction,” said Susan Sheridan Tucker, executive director of MNAPG. “This new TV spot shines a powerful light that helps people see the connection between gambling and other addictions. The effects of problem gambling are underestimated, and our hope is this message helps people find the help they need.”

Gambling addiction treatment is free in Minnesota. For more info, call 1-800-333-4673 or visit


Jul 13, 2023
Client :
Minnesota Alliance on Problem Gambling
Agency :
Preston Spire
Jennifer Spire
Chris Preston
CD / AD :
Brett Essman
Senior Copywriter :
Aylâ Larsen
Senior Designer :
Fernando Polomino
Senior Account Supervisor :
Aaron Smith
Senior Strategist :
Ron Hall
Production Company :
Plural Films
Director :
Rachel Knoll
DP :
Steve Holm
Music :
Echo Boys
Color :
Oscar Oboza
Edit :
Good Dutch
Edit :
Irei Edit
Executive Director :
Susan Tucker
EP :
Lisa Thotland

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