UK Gambling Operators Face TV Advertising Ban

Posted on October 10, 2016

[toc]Advertising officials in the United Kingdom may be banning gambling products from being advertised on national television during daylight hours.

A review into advertising had been previously blocked by former Chancellor George Osborne under David Cameron’s government.

According to an article in UK newspaper The Times, experts believe that “growing numbers of children see gambling as normal because of adverts” that are shown on television, “especially during football matches.”

An ongoing government review into fixed-odds betting terminals, terminals that permit classic games like blackjack and roulette, and also facilitate sports betting such as horse racing, will now include a review into gambling advertising.

Fixed-odds betting terminals made £1.7 billion from gamblers last year.

Current UK gambling advertisement regulation

Licensed gambling operators in the UK can advertise their products after the 9 p.m. watershed, at which point television broadcasts become essentially unrestricted and uncensored.

However, during daylight hours, gambling advertisements can only be shown if they advertise bingo products or are broadcast in the commercial breaks during live sporting events.

Experts believe that the current regulation exposes children to gambling products during the weekend, especially during football matches.

The UK Gambling Commission believes that the number of young people (aged 18 to 24) who “exhibit concerning gambling behaviour” has increased to 1.5 percent in the past three years.

Over one quarter of complaints made to the Advertising Standards Authority relate to gambling adverts.

Effort to limit problem gambling

A daytime advertising ban is a response by the government to limit influence on minors and those with problem gambling behaviour.

“The Government is committed to ensuring that people, particularly the young and vulnerable, are protected from the risk of gambling-related harm,” said Sports Minister Tracey Crouch last month.

“We are keeping the issue of advertising under review to ensure that sufficient protections are in place, and will not hesitate to take further action if necessary.”

The UK Gambling Commission has revealed that the number of UK residents with a serious gambling problem has almost doubled since 2013. It is believed that 0.7 percent of the population (336,000 people) suffer from problem gambling.

Gambling a major boon to advertising industry

The United Kingdom has always had a strong gambling culture, with almost 10,000 betting shops operating in UK high streets.

According to Nielsen and The Guardian newspaper, UK gambling operators spent almost £500 million on television advertising from 2012 to 2015.

In 2015, £118.5 million was spent on advertising by bookmakers, bingo companies and online casino operators.

This represented a sharp increase from 2014, when £81.2 million was spent. When the UK National Lottery advertising spend is included, the total expenditure since 2012 tops £639 million.

Matt Perry Avatar
Written by
Matt Perry

A veteran of the online gambling industry, Matt Perry has worn a number of hats since he first began working in online poker and iGaming in 2007. He currently writes for a variety of publications focused on legal online gambling, and in the past has served as an editor, copywriter, content manager and reporter.

View all posts by Matt Perry