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UK Gambling firms to no longer advertise during live sport

Tue, Dec 11, 10:41am by Staff Writer

Industry lobby group The Remote Gambling Association (RGA) has voluntarily agreed to stop advertising during live sport broadcasts according to the BBC.

The lobby group, whose members include industry giants Paddy Power, William Hill and Ladbrokes agreed to a ‘whistle-to-whistle’ ban which comes after significant political pressure on the subject in recent times.

It is reported that more than 90 minutes of betting advertisements were broadcast during the recent football World Cup.

The football gambling industry is worth 1.4 billion pounds in Britain and the industry is a lucrative source of revenue for television companies.

Revenues expected to be impacted for television companies

It is anticipated that television companies such as Sky and BT will take a financial hit with the implementation on these new broadcast rules.

Carsten Thode, chief strategy officer of Synergy, a marketing agency expects broadcasters to be worried by the announcement. He told the Telegraph “we have been through this before, but this may well end up like the tobacco ban in F1. Something will eventually come along in its place, but we could see a short-term drop in revenue.”

The new broadcast agreement is believed to include a ‘whistle-to-whistle’ betting advertisement free zone for a set time frame before and after a game broadcast, which will include any game that starts before 9pm.

Deal not yet finalised

According to RGA, “nothing has yet been finalised”.

However, they stated on Thursday “The Gambling Industry Code for Socially Responsible Advertising is reviewed annually, and several options are being considered as the basis for possible enhancements in 2019.”

Final ratification needs to be made by the Industry Group for Responsible Gambling (IGRG) before the changes are formalised. It is understood that there will be a meeting next week to endorse the proposed changes.

Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, Jeremy Wright told The Daily Telegraph “Gambling firms banning advertising on TV during live sport is a welcome move and I am pleased that the sector is stepping up and responding to public concerns. It is vital children and vulnerable people are protected from the threat of gambling-related harm. Companies must be socially responsible.”

In a show of bipartisan support, Shadow Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, Tom Watson stated to the BBC “there was clear public support for these restrictions and I’m glad that the Remote Gambling Association has taken its responsibilities seriously and listened.”

In-game betting advertising already in place in Australia

The move to ban in-game advertising in the UK is something that is not new to Australia with the change made in the country from March 30 this year.

The rules in Australia are for no in-game advertising during live sports broadcasts between 5am and 8:30pm.

For Australian Football League (AFL) and National Rugby League (NRL) games, the ban applies from 5 minutes before the opening siren to five minutes after the final siren.

Shirt sponsorship could be the next target

Player shirt sponsorship from betting companies may be next in line for industry reform given the presence they currently hold within British football.

At present, 9 of 20 premier league teams and 17 of 24 championship teams have shirt sponsorships with gambling companies.

With gambling advertisements almost immersed within sports broadcasts and sports organisations, it is difficult today to avoid coverage of betting in connection to sporting events.

The ban of in-game advertising may aid those who get encouraged by such broadcasting from participating in betting that they normally wouldn’t engage in during these events.

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