Is UK gambling advertising excessive?

News on 23 Oct 2017

The BBC reported over the weekend on the results of a study on gambling advertising by its Victoria Derbyshire show, noting that 95 percent of television advertising breaks during live UK football matches feature at least one gambling advert, and one in five of the commercials broadcast across 25 matches were for betting firms, rising on occasion to more than one in three.

In the UK gambling advertisements may only be shown after 9pm, with the exception of live sporting events.

The study assessed 25 games involving British teams, from the build-up through to the post-match chat on BT Sport, Sky Sports and ITV, observing that on average there were a total of 1,324 commercials and sponsorship indents, and of these, 272 were for gambling. Certain matches showed higher rates of gambling adverts… up to 40 percent for betting, with 18 adverts for five firms.

The BBC reports that the study results are released ahead of the expected publication this (October) month of the government’s long-anticipated review of the gambling industry (see previous reports).

In 2016, betting firms spent GBP 150 million a year on TV adverts, with a single Premiership football ad placement believed to cost out at GBP 35,000.

The BBC report notes that earlier this year Australia banned all gambling adverts in live sport before the 9pm watershed, and that Belgium has recently done the same.

Our readers may recall that the UK Local Government Association recently called for tighter restrictions on gambling advertising, highlighting that the adverts in live matches were screened to millions of viewers including children, while half of Premier League and Championship football teams were sponsored by betting companies.

A recent study by Goldsmiths University found more than 250 separate gaming adverts on-screen during the BBC’s Match of the Day programme. These were mostly on shirts, hoardings and post-match interviews.

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