Thursday saw widespread print and electronic media reports in the UK claiming that major UK sports betting companies have agreed to a voluntary “whistle-to-whistle” ban on advertising during live sports broadcasts in an effort to address concerns around “normalising” gambling and its impact on children.
The news was greeted by single digit declines in the share prices of major gambling companies, but the Remote Gambling Association said agreement has not been finalised although discussions have taken place.
Several reports with timelines around 11pm Thursday night deepened the confusion by continuing to report that agreement has been reached on the voluntary ban, which has reportedly been backed by top companies like Bet365, William Hill and Ladbrokes, based on proposals by the RGA.
Some reports claimed that the agreement will be finalised next week when five major gambling trade associations have concluded discussions, and that implementation will follow with the following six months.
The five associations include the RGA, National Casino Forum, Association of British Bookmakers, Bingo Association and the amusement arcade body Bacta.
The whistle-to-whistle ban, which excludes horse racing, will likely be respected even by companies that do not agree with it, according to analysts, who suggest that : “It would be a very brave company that would stick its head above the parapet in isolation.”
High level media sources said that sports gambling advertising in the UK was worth around GBP 200 million to broadcasters last year,
Stella Dalton, the RGA’s regulatory affairs manager, said Thursday: “The Gambling Industry Code for Socially Responsible Advertising is reviewed annually, and several options are currently being considered as the basis for possible enhancements in 2019. However, nothing has yet been finalised.”