The betting industry could soon find it is no longer allowed to promote its services on television, if recent news reports are any indication. The government is already looking at fixed-odds betting terminals, and now the review is set to include television adverts as well.
We thought we’d look into the evidence supporting a ban, and how the future might pan out for the gambling industry.
Why could gambling adverts be banned?
There are several reasons why this could happen:
- Children are being exposed to bingo ads from a young age
- Experts think kids are viewing gambling as normal
- The percentage of people with serious gambling issues has nearly doubled
How many people have a serious gambling problem?
The numbers are very small when compared to the total number of people in the UK today:
- 0.7% of Brits are said to have a serious issue with gambling
- This amounts to around 336,000 people
- Data gathered by the Gambling Commission
0.7% doesn’t sound like a lot, but it does cover a few hundred thousand people. Maybe the most concerning statistic is that just three years ago, only 0.4% of residents had a serious betting problem. This is a big jump in just a three-year period.
What are the current rules?
Now, there are several requirements bookmakers must meet. Advertising before 9pm can only be allowed in two instances:
- Adverts are allowed during commercial breaks when sport is being shown live
- Adverts for bingo games are allowed before 9pm too
Lottery adverts are also permitted to be shown before the watershed. However, in the space of a decade, gambling adverts and bingo ads have increased by a huge amount. Here’s how much they’ve increased by:
- 2005 – 90,000 ads
- 2014 – 1.4 MILLION ads
That’s a huge difference, and it shows how the industry has developed in that time. Companies are making a lot of money from these ads, otherwise they wouldn’t be promoting and developing them. So, what could happen next?
We could see a blanket ban on bingo and betting adverts prior to the watershed, meaning no company could have any adverts on television on any channel during the day. It’s possible they would still be allowed after the watershed, although nothing is certain.
Protecting young people from problem gambling
Clearly, the main concern is to make sure young people are protected from being exposed to adverts for gambling. They’re very impressionable when growing up, and any adverts shown during the day can be seen by kids from a young age. We doubt any adults today grew up assuming it was fine to gamble, and most of us know it’s important to do so in moderation.
But we think most people will agree it’s good to protect kids from being tempted at a young age. We’ll be watching to see whether the government’s review does eventually bring in a ban on daytime advertising. For what it’s worth, we think they will.
We’ll keep you posted either way.