FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) — You’ve probably noticed a lot of ads for sports betting recently. Here’s why.

Legal sports betting in Indiana is less than two years old. Competition is fierce for new customers, who largely have no brand loyalty. Advertising and promotions become key components in new customer acquisition.

“There’s a lot of activity in this space,” says former casino executive Alan Feldman, who is now with the UNLV International Gaming Institute. “What you see going on in Indiana is very typical of the early stages of the industry. Getting customers onto your site, getting them familiar with your brand is really critical in the earliest stages.”

Feldman says it’s possible to go too far. “Operators have to be careful they don’t end up with such a deluge of advertising that it creates a groundswell of opposition. There were several moments during football games where it seemed as if (betting) was the only advertising you saw. That sometimes gets pushback from the public.”

Indiana is one of 14 states with legal sports betting. As more states make it legal, much of the advertising could follow.

Feldman thinks the NCAA should do its part to teach responsible betting during the upcoming men’s basketball tournament. “All of the leagues have a responsibility to teach people about what sports gambling is. They have a responsibility to teach about what Responsible Gambling looks like.”

He’s quick to point out the difference between engagement and addiction. “I think we’ve got to be very specific. There’s one thing where you become engaged, you enjoy it, and maybe you’re doing it a lot. Then there’s another moment where you lose total control and you’re destroying your life. Addiction is an incredibly serious mental disorder; it’s not about your behavior. Betting should be something that you’re doing for a reasonable period of time. You really shouldn’t be obsessing over it. You shouldn’t be checking on it every couple of minutes. Right now March Madness is underway and that has always been a huge betting event so it’s understandable that people might be pretty well engaged in it. Then once it’s over, it’s over and you move on.”

For a confidential referral to get help with a gambling problem, Hoosiers can call (800) 994-8448 or follow the link here.