Would a Gambling TV Ad Ban actually make any difference to sports sponsorship by gambling companies? Would they not just manoeuvre to defeat Government objectives.

Gambling TV Ad Ban

Gambling TV Ad Ban

Last week in the UK, Culture Secretary Karen Bradley announced a study of fixed-odds betting terminals and other gaming machines. She also announced the study would include the possibility of a Gambling related TV Ad Ban to protect vulnerable adults and children.

Karen Bradley expressed concern that her own children could recite betting adverts they had seen during sporting broadcasts. That may be so but is that an appropriate comment for a politician to make? Government intent seems clear whatever you think.

This objective follows some alarming statistics in the rise of problem Gambling. The Gamcare Charity operates the National Gambling Helpline. They claim to have dealt with 18% more calls in 2014/5 than the previous year with a 39% rise in clients receiving treatment.

Since 2007, gambling brands have been permitted to advertise on TV but generally not before 9.00 pm. Exceptions are the National Lottery, Bingo Brands and Sport broadcasts. Statistics published by independent regulator Offcom show a rise from 152,000 in 2016 to 1.39 million on 2012.

These figures may be alarming but only last year ASA, the Advertising Standards Authority concluded that the current controls were sufficient to protect vulnerable adults and children. Last year the UK Gambling Commission tightened their own rules to prevent sign up adverts appearing on TV before 9.00 pm.

Possible Effects

We have been through all this before with the Smoking TV AD Ban but the question is, would a Gambling related TV Ad Ban have the right effect. That needs to be balanced with the possible negative effects of a Gambling TV Ad Ban.

On the negative side, the financial contributions made from advertising assist with the cost of live sports broadcasting. Maybe sporting enthusiasts would lose out if commercial channels could no longer broadcast daytime sporting events.  On the other hand, maybe other sectors would come forward to fill these sports advertising spots.

It seems that the Government need to consider where this is all going. Sponsorship of the UK Premier League Football  is already heavily supported by income provided by Gambling companies. Would a TV Ad ban mean pitch side banners could not be shown during daytime matches which might be broadcast by some channels after 9.00 pm.  A reduction in gambling advertising in the Premier League might have some major financial effects. Some mitigation might be possible, it would be a tough nut to crack.

We can already see some self controls are being imposed by the Gambling Industry. We are talking about a powerful industry here with some very high stakes. The old adage springs to mind; when one door closes, another one opens.

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