Tuesday, 28 April 2020

UK Gambling Firms To Halt TV And Radio Advertising During Lockdown

Gambling Addiction

Several of the UK’s biggest gambling companies have announced a stop to all TV and radio gambling advertisements during the COVID-19 lockdown.

The news was revealed by the Betting And Gaming Council (BGC) this week who confirmed that several gambling operators had voluntarily agreed to remove all of their gambling advertisements for at least six weeks. The BGC stated that existing advertisements for gambling will be replaced by ads that promote safe gambling messages from charities or will be removed from broadcast if allowed.

According to reports, operators will have until May 7th to remove their advertisements and the ban will remain in effect until June 5th. Gambling operators will still be allowed to advertise gambling via direct marketing such as in emails and text messages, and on social media.

The news comes after Gamstop urged all users worried about developing gambling addictions to self-exclude themselves from betting websites and online casinos and after officials from the Leeds Gambling Clinic expressed fear over the potential increase of people suffering from gambling-related harm due to the lockdown.

Meanwhile, The Parliamentary All-Party Betting And Gaming Group last week launched a review of the UK’s Gambling Act 2005. The group will reportedly investigate the Act to ensure it is updated and relevant to the social and technical developments made within the gambling industry since the Act’s introduction.

What They Say

Michael Dugher, the Chief Executive of the BGC, said in a statement: “From day one of this crisis we have sought to protect customers potentially at risk. This latest move by the regulated industry further underlines our commitment to safer betting and gaming with many people cut off and feeling anxious.”

Dugher then stated that, despite previous fears, there has been no jump in the number of people gambling online. He said: “There will always be alarmist noises from anti-gambling prohibitionists who just want to grab headlines. We are determined to do everything we can to protect customers potentially at risk during this lockdown period and beyond.”

Carolyn Harris, the Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group For Gambling-Related Harm, praised the block on advertising but told the Guardian that it should have been introduced when lockdown first began. She said: “This is a clear admission that gambling advertising is having a profound effect on the level of problem gambling we are seeing across the UK.

“I welcome today’s decision but wish it could have been made on day one of the lockdown rather than six weeks down the line. The damage already done is hard to comprehend. It’s vital that this is extended to all gambling advertising on all mediums throughout this pandemic.”