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.