UK APPG Party Calls for All Daytime Gambling Ads to be Banned
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UK APPG Party Calls for All Daytime Gambling Ads to be Banned

UK APPG Party Calls for All Daytime Gambling Ads to be Banned

The UK APPG wants advertisements of online gambling to be treated in the same manner as advertisements from alcohol and tobacco. Both the UK Gambling Commission and the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) have continuously pushed for a ban on daytime ads especially relating to slots and various table games on TV.

So far, the operators have supported this move but still continue to advertise games such as bingo and lotteries as there are no regulations to prevent them from advertising these games. The AAPG alongside the commission and various politicians have expressed growing concerns of problem gambling rise in the UK.

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media, and Sport (DCMS) also supports AAPG’s move to ban daytime gambling ads as it agrees that it encourages a higher number of young people to register for betting sites. According to the DCMS, it is primarily young individuals that stay tuned to daytime programming. Being constantly exposed to gambling ads during the day thus has a direct impact on their decision to start gambling.

Apart from having daytime ads banned, anti-gambling activists have also called for the ban of the use of celebrities and influencers including sports personalities and TV stars in wagering and gambling ads. This is intended to keep under-18s away from gambling. This means that in the future, gambling ads that feature well-known personalities such as Harry Redknapp and Jose Mourinho might also be eradicated.

The Committees of Advertising Practice (CAP), the body responsible for setting the UK code for advertising, is tightening gambling ad restrictions owing to the recent research that was commissioned by GambleAware. The DCMS is currently reviewing the 2005 Gaming Act, which has been criticized for being too outdated for today’s highly advanced gambling market.


Other countries have attempted to ban gambling ads

The UK AAPPG will not be the first to attempt to have daytime gambling ads banned. This has already happened successfully in other parts of the world. For instance, last year, the Swedish government pushed for a blanket ban on gambling ads. The ban would bar gambling ads for the riskiest games in online casinos including slots and table games for the hours between 6 am and 9 pm.

Like Sweden, the UK has experienced a surge in online gambling since the pandemic struck. As such, anti-gambling activists and politicians alike have been pushing for tightened rules for online casinos. The industry is now looking for ways in which it can put in position a code of conduct aimed at helping vulnerable gamblers. 

According to anti-gambling groups, however, a lot more still needs to be done to tackle the surge in addiction. These anti-gambling groups have put forth several suggestions that consist of limits on ad bonuses, jackpots, and free plays. These groups have also suggested limiting advertisements during live sporting events and tournaments.

Italy has also banned gambling ads as part of the government’s Dignity Decree that consists of several measures to curb pathological betting. As a result, all forms of gambling ads in Italy were banned and gambling sponsorships in sports were phased out gradually. 

Alongside traditional ads, commercial communications like product placement, distribution of branded gambling items including competitions with branded prizes, and any form of influencer marketing for gambling companies is also banned. Before the ban, gambling operators were injecting close to €120 million into sports in the country through sponsorship.

Across the Mediterranean, Spain also followed Italy’s suit by introducing its own regulations for online ads relating to casinos and sports betting. So just how effective are gambling ads? According to experts, betting ads and anything that induces people to wager directly impact their betting behavior. Ads with the most influence are those that:

  • Feature direct messages from online casino operators.
  • Appear on betting websites and apps.
  • Are promoted by various betting operators during live broadcasts and sports or racing events.
  • Feature commentary promoting online betting during sporting events and tournaments.

According to experts, gambling ads expose gambling to the youth and further normalizes the act even though problem gambling is as real as alcohol addiction. Gambling ads also trigger increased betting expenditure particularly among at-risk punters and those suffering from problem gambling. When wagers are accompanied by encouragement, punters tend to pick riskier bets with longer odds compared to when there is no stimulus offered.


So how will all a ban on gambling ads impact the industry?

As you can expect, betting and gambling industry reps have come out strong criticizing plans to ban daytime gambling ads. Many claim that banning daytime ads is not only far-reaching, but it also fails to follow scientific recommendations for handling and treating problem gambling and addiction. For instance, despite the ban on ads, the addiction to cigarette smoking has never been controlled and it will likely be the same case with gambling ads.

From a financial perspective, the ban on daytime ads will no doubt considerably affect UK gambling stakeholders and will likely result in loss of revenue. As a result, the government will lose a considerable source of revenue that it needs to fund recovery efforts.


Final Thoughts

Banning daytime ads promoting gambling may help to deter a few gamblers here and there. However, if a problem gambler wants to gamble, they will look for any means necessary to do so. More often than not, this usually involves turning to offshore betting sites many of which are operated in the black market thus offering no player protections at all.

In a nutshell, gambling daytime ads will likely not do much to deter problem gamblers. That’s because the protection of at-risk gamblers is an issue that consists of 2 parts; personal responsibility from the gamblers themselves, and adequate government oversight. For things to work in favor of gamblers, there must be a balance of both.


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