Industry to introduce voluntary ban on gambling adverts

Gambling firms have agreed to a voluntary ban on gambling adverts being screened during sporting events starting from next summer.

Two men shaking hands

The IGRG represents five trade bodies and announced the proposals. © Pexels.

The move comes after some confusion about just how willing gambling companies were to introduce advertising restrictions in recent weeks.

Last week, news broke that the Remote Gambling Association (RGA) had brokered a deal and that bookmakers had agreed to a similar ban. However, the RGA quickly denied that any deal had been reached and insisted that the talks were ongoing.

Now, the Industry Group for Responsible Gambling (IGRG) has announced details of the industry’s proposal. The ban would be whistle-to-whistle, starting five minutes before – and ending five minutes after – any live sporting events taking place before the 9pm watershed. This would however not apply to horse and greyhound racing.

Currently, online casinos advertise solely during sporting events, so this move would be a ban on them advertising.

Speaking about the proposal, John Hagan, Chair of the IGRG, said:

We believe that these new voluntary TV measures, which have been approved by the trade associations representing every sector of the gambling industry, will drastically reduce the amount of gambling advertising on television and they complement the strict controls that already govern gambling companies around advertising on digital platforms. John Hagan, IGRG Chairman

The move is a welcome one, with the sheer volume of gambling adverts a hot topic in both industry and government throughout the last year.

However, the move may not be enough for some. A recent study commissioned by GambleAware revealed that gambling firms direct 80% of their marketing budgets to online advertising.

While this proposal is a success for campaigners such as Tom Watson, Deputy leader of the Labour party, attention will now switch to online adverts:

The next step will have to be addressing the gambling adverts that children and vulnerable problem gamblers see online. Tom Watson, Deputy leader of the Labour Party

This move also does nothing to solve the problem of gambling firms advertising on football teams’ shirts and at their stadiums, a topic on which Watson has also been vocal. Those sponsorships mean that gambling firms will still, in a way, be able to advertise via live broadcast sporting events.

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