Gambling Industry is Facing Bans on Adverts

An offer was made to the government by the broadcasters, and betting firms. They want to launch a campaign regarding addiction awareness. A review will be published by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media, and Sport regarding the gambling industry, and the rise in the number of television’s betting adverts. The Guardian has been privy to documents showing the advertising industry, broadcasters, and gambling companies have an excellent response to the review. They are committed to dealing with gambling addictions. The campaign is being referred to as the consequence of the government’s gambling review.

As the deputy leader of Labor, Tom Watson warned about the issues that may result from the government tightening the restrictions on betting adverts regarding problem gambling. He believes the gambling industry must not be allowed to avoid the restrictions placed on advertising. He wants deals for shirt sponsorships for football clubs to be banned. He spoke of research detailing the gambling addiction in the United Kingdom, and feels voluntary action from the betting companies will not be enough to face the problem. He wants the government to review the advertising children are likely to watch, including football sponsorships involving shirt sponsorships, and live sporting events.

Part of the cost for the publicity will be paid by the Remote Gambling Association, and the Senet Group who promotes responsible betting is also covering part of the cost. The Advertising Agency will be contributing, and although gambling firms are their largest buyers, the commercial television channels will additionally chip in with free airtime. The Guardian was informed by the betting sources within the industry that the proposed campaign is expected to launch in 2018, and is driving a wedge between the industry factions who already disagree with the proposed legislation. The Industry for Responsible Gambling is coordinating all efforts, and are responsible for the online gaming companies, bookmakers, amusement arcade owners, and casinos.

Bacta, the Bingo Association, and the National Casino Forum have refused to make contributions. They believe the plan is trying to prevent an advertising crackdown. Professor Linda Hancock is from the Deakin University in Australia. As an expert in problem gambling, she believes the idea an individual is responsible for gambling safety and avoiding behavior leading to problems is a misnomer. She said the customers are blamed, and gambling is promoted as a leisurely pursuit causing a risk for the users. Campaigns are promoting gambling as not being harmful when it can be. Alan Sugar of the House of Lords has asked for a ban on all ads regarding pre-watershed gambling. He believes the government is responsible for stopping the television adverts for gambling that may be viewed by the youths. At the very least, he wants these ads run after 9 pm.

The gambling industry in the United Kingdom was deregulated due to the Labor government of Tony Blair. This caused a surge of advertising for gaming companies, bookmakers, and online casinos. Since 2012, they have spent an exorbitant amount on advertising. The industry has agreed to accept a voluntary code in exchange for deregulation. Gambling advertisements can only be run before 9 pm if they are a part of a sports event. The gambling advertisements can still be run all day if they are on television channels dedicated to sports, or sporting broadcasts run on commercial terrestrial channels. The Guardians analysis shows there are approximately 600 programming hours every week that qualify for the gambling adverts exception. Philip Bowcock of William Hill stated to the Guardian that bookmakers will accept some types of restrictions. A ban on the gambling adverts shown with live sporting events has been imposed by Australia. The IGRG feels this would not be reasonable.