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Spend in online gambling marketing on the rise – but there’s a catch

Wed, Nov 28, 4:08pm by Staff Writer

The Internet age has been a coup for online gambling companies and it has translated to more dollars being spent in online marketing and advertising.

The UK’s GambleAware charity recently released financial analysis conducted by Regulus Partners that showed gambling companies’ total marketing spending hit £1.5 billion in 2017, a 56 per cent rise on what was spent in 2014.

Television advertising spending hit just £234 million and only 15 per cent of the total marketing spend according to the report.

The data was taken from publicly traded operators’ financial reports and available data from private and internationally licensed online firms.

Regulus Partners acknowledges that its numbers may not be definitive, but GambleAware chief executive officer Marc Etches said the report, “shows that much more attention needs to be paid to the extent of gambling-related marketing online, and that internet companies and social media platforms must share in the responsibility to protect children.”

The UK’s gambling operators are facing a regulatory ‘storm’ due to a changing public and political attitude towards gambling advertising, according to Calvin Ayre.

The UK Gambling Commission’s program director for consumer protector and empowerment Ian Angus told industry executives that their future looks grim unless they adopt new practices for promoting their products.

Mr Angus spoke at the Responsible Marketing for Gambling Operators conference in London, warning the industry that it would be “unwise” to ignore the “hardening public and political mood” around gambling advertising.

Angus warned that “consumer trust in gambling is at an all-time low” and the UK Gambling Commission’s quarterly online survey tracker data showed nearly two-thirds of respondents felt gambling adverts “should be discouraged”.

UK opts against changing gambling ad rules

The UK government opted against further advertising restriction in October 2017, arguing that there was little evidence that gambling promotions led to increased problem gambling activity.

In its review the government determined that the UK’s problem gambling prevalence “has remained relatively stable below 1 per cent of the adult population, despite a very significant rise in advertising.”

The government will launch a major responsible gambling advertising campaign that will run for two years across all media platforms with an annual budget of £5-7 million.

The overall gambling participate rate for UK residents aged 16 or older was 57 per cent, down from 63 per cent in 2015 and 65 per cent in 2012. Excluding individuals who only gamble on National Lottery draws, participation was down to 42 per cent from 45 per cent in 2015.

A flurry of betting ads during the recent FIFA World Cup led to a raft of consumer complaints, with the government pushed to take action.

Australia’s strict gambling advertising rules

Despite the UK stalling on changing its stance on gambling advertising, the Australian Communications and Media Authority introduced new regulations relating to gambling advertising in Australia in March 2018.

Online casinos and betting platforms are unable to advertise on free-to-air television, pay television or on the radio between 5am and 8:30pm.

The restrictions have one little to curtail spending on gambling advertising in Australia, with a 26 per cent rise in gambling advertising spend noted in the year to July.

The biggest rise in advertising revenue has come from newspaper, which has seen a 121 per cent rise year-on-year.

The television advertising sector has also seen a modest growth despite restriction, up nearly 15 per cent on a year ago.

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