Sky’s CEO Stephen van Rooyen Says TV Ads Ban Not Enough

Sky is increasingly shaping itself up as a champion of consumer protection and anti-gambling harm champion. The company’s CEO, Stephen van Rooyen, has now said that the whistle-to-whistle ban will need to be backed by serious action from industry experts to succeed in achieving its intended goal.

Sky’s Charm Offensive

New measures are being implemented every day to help curb the number of problem gamblers on the territory on the United Kingdom, and while some remain sceptical about the effects of the proposed changes in the advertisement policy, Sky CEO Stephen van Rooyen seems determined to seek a final solution, beyond what he thinks is an ill-considered palliative.

According to Mr. van Rooyen, a whistle-to-whistle ban would not be sufficient in itself to brush up on consumer protection stands. Rather, operators will re-focus their efforts online where they can reach out to even greater audiences.

Mr. van Rooyen is de facto one of the sceptics who perceives this move as an exercise in futility. Even though the Remote Gambling Association (RGA) and its members have been championing the measure as a proof of an improving industry, the Sky’s top man is not convinced.

TV advertisement is a dying sector with bookmakers and iGaming companies scurrying off online where they can take refuge while the industry’s coming to a slow halt. According to Regulus Partners, TV advertisement accounts for only 15% of all gambling-related ads. In other words, the industry’s leaders have adapted quickly.

It’s true that limiting ads during air time would have its effects. People would be less likely to tempt themselves into placing a wager and of course – business will lose revenue, but ultimately – the levels of betting will bounce back if not strengthened by reaching new customers, courtesy of well-spread online advertisement.

If the RGA and gambling companies are serious about protecting vulnerable gamblers, then they should start by looking at where they spend the most money, what has the least level of regulation and where there is most evidence of harm: the online world. – Sky CEO Stephen van Rooyen

Mr. van Rooyen was specific in the course of action that should be pursued moving forward, explaining that instead of addressing a sector that is clearly not the main focus of the industry any more was belated and probably not really necessary.

He also explained that the focus must shift online and the government must seek to ensure that all activities are levied with the proper tax, and thus avoid depriving the state from its just share of the revenue, which can be reinvested in social causes.

Sky has already said that it would limit the gambling-related content advertisement to one slot per commercial break. Meanwhile, the online segment remains testy, as it’s regulated by the CAP Code, which basically means that advertisement can be launched before they are vetted & approved.

Underage gambling has been another serious issue in the country, with estimated 50,000 children suffering from a gambling-related problem of varying severity. The United Kingdom has a lot to do before it can guarantee the safety of all its customers, to mention nothing of those most vulnerable, and Mr. van Rooyen seems to know as much.

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UK Government Mulls Gambling Ad Ban

Across the UK, there is a growing concern about the abundance of gambling ads that are broadcast on television. There have been calls for the government for review advertising rules for gambling operators to restrict them from broadcasting commercials at times when children would be watching.

A Call for Improved Gambling Ad Restrictions

In the United Kingdom, gambling advertisements are allowed to air on television before 9pm but only if they are part of a live sports broadcast. These are quite lax restrictions when you considering that many countries don’t permit gambling advertisements at any time. Australia is one country in which gambling ads were once allowed – but the government has recently introduced new rules that bans all ads during sporting events.

The major concern about gambling ads is that they may normalise gambling for young people watching. Children who view advertisements for sports betting during sporting events may not be able to separate the two activities, and they could feel encouraged to take part in gambling. The new rules that the public is calling for aims to reduce this risk.

The most interesting aspect of the issue is that sports betting companies have backed the call for new restrictions on gambling advertisements. Phillip Bowcock, Chief Executive of William Hill, has stated that a change is needed and that government officials should “have a serious discussion about it”. Paddy Power’s Chief Executive Peter Jackson has echoed these sentiments, saying that he’s open to tougher restrictions on gambling ads but a legislation must be passed first to ensure that gaming companies follow the rules.

In Violation of the Advertising Standards Authority Guidelines

Experts at Warwick University have looked into the issue, and they have concluded that the type of live odds betting offers shown during sporting events violate guidelines set out by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA). The authority’s code states that marketing should not encourage players to gamble by imposing significant time limitations – but the research team found that there were over 60 of these ads played during England matches in the 2018 World Cup.

The researchers noted that technology has changed the landscape of the betting market in the United Kingdom. Previously, football betting was relatively uncommon because punters would have to wager in person or over the phone. Now, players can wager using their phones and computers – with gambling advertisements compelling them to do so.

These are the types of issues that the public wants to UK government to look into. There is certainly room for improvement when it comes to gambling advertisement laws, with a view to preventing young people from being compelled to gamble and adults from engaging in irresponsible gambling behaviour.

Grant Mahon

Grant is the self-professed casino madman and reporter that brought this eclectic team of dedicated and talented writers together from around the world to proudly build an humble empire of authentic casino news.

Australian Gambling Ban Could Encompass Streaming

Over the course of the past year, the Australian government has been making some big changes to its online gambling laws. Lawmakers have been working hard to prevent children from viewing gambling content during sports matches on television, and now they have their sights set on live streams.

A Safe Zone for Children

The Australian Communications and Media Authority have proposed restrictions on when gambling ads can be shown during sports broadcasts. The safe zone bans these types of advertisements during times when children are more likely to be tuned in, and the ACMA is looking to revise its rules to include live streams between the hours of 5pm and 8:30pm.

Currently, there are strict rules in place for sports broadcasts during the evening, when children are likely to be home and watching television. The promotion of gambling odds is banned from five minutes before play to five minutes after play and gambling representatives are not permitted on the ground. Commentators have also been banned from promoting odds from 30 minutes before play to 30 minutes after play.

The rules change somewhat after 8:30pm, when no gambling is permitted only during play. The promotion of odds continues to be banned during play and in-play breaks but is allowed before and after the games.

It is likely these same rules will apply to live streams. However, since young people are likely to watch streams from mobile devices, the gambling ad ban may have to extend its hours.

Concerns About Underage Gambling

Australian lawmakers have been concerned about underage gambling for quite some time. Across the country, gambling rates among young people are on the rise. A study by Central Coast Gambling Help found that between 80% and 90% of adolescents gamble in any given year, with 10% to 15% of them being at risk of developing problem gambling behaviours.

Many young people who participate in gambling do so by taking part in card games, buying lottery tickets and playing scratch cards – but there are some who partake in more risky behaviour like placing wagers on sports and playing pokies. In fact, over 10 000 underage individuals attempted to sneak in to Adelaide Casino in just one year.

It is believed that gambling ads are a major contributor to this behaviour. Children see content promoting gambling from a very young age, and they are taught to normalise the behaviour without considering the risks. As such, the idea behind banning ads during hours when young people are watching television is aimed at limiting their exposure. It has the potential to make a positive impact, but there is still a long way to go before underage gambling is no longer a problem in Australia.

Grant Mahon

Grant is the self-professed casino madman and reporter that brought this eclectic team of dedicated and talented writers together from around the world to proudly build an humble empire of authentic casino news.