UK Concerned About Betting Ad FrequencyJake Cooper | 04 Dec 2018
Bookmakers are going to be reviewing how often advertisements for sports betting are appearing on television, after it came to light that the issue is a matter of public concern. The Labour Party has called for a complete ban on gambling advertising while events are happening after research revealed that more than 90 minutes of ads were shown during the Russian World Cup.
The Gambling Commission reports that there are more than 400 000 punters in the United Kingdom who have a problem. More alarmingly, the number of children with gambling problems has quadrupled in just 2 years, hitting an all-time high of 50 000.
Are Ads to Blame for Problem Gambling?
The Remote Gambling Association, made up of companies like William Hill, Paddy Power, and Ladbrokes has let it be known that they take these kinds of issues very seriously and called a board meeting to address this question.
The proposals being discussed included:
● The idea of putting an embargo on pre-watershed ads by gambling organisations
● A possible restriction on how many ads could air in each commercial break
● Instituting a zero in-play ad policy during live matches for Football and other sports
The RGA has said that the industry code it has in place for responsible gambling is reviewed annually, and revealed that additions and enhancements being considered for it in 2019 were already being processed. They would not reveal the outcome of the review, however, saying that it was simply too soon to have reached a decision.
The Fallout and a Possible Solution
Anti-gambling activists have said that these advertisements normalise wagering, and are to blame for tempting bettors who find it impossible to stop. Matt Zarb-Cousin, the spokesperson for Fairer Gambling, said that operators are starting to become aware of just how negatively the public views their marketing campaigns, especially those aired during live events. He added that it was unusual to spend these vast sums on airing commercials in the hopes of improving one’s image only to find it was doing the exact opposite.
Tom Watson, the Deputy Labour Leader has called for a 1% levy to be imposed on bookmakers, and suggested that this money should then be used to treat addicts who seek help. Watson believes that this tiny amount could yield roughly £140 million a year, which would go a long way to giving assistance where it is needed. Currently there is a voluntary tax in place which brings in around £10 million annually.