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The UK government is considering proposals to restrict betting commercials on daytime TV in its review into fixed-odds betting terminals.
The move would be significant for broadcasters such as Sky and BT Sport, whose football coverage attracts million of pounds in revenue each year from betting ads. This summer Sky Sports made a three-year deal with bet365 to sponsor its live Premier League football coverage.
The Gambling Commission has reported the number of Brits with a severe gambling problem has almost doubled in three years to 336,000 people, or 0.7 per cent of the population.
A Department for Culture, Media and Sport spokesman said: “We will continue to monitor the effectiveness of existing gambling controls and will take further action if necessary.”
The Remote Gambling Association (RGA), whose members include Ladbrokes, William Hill and Paddy Power Betfair, said there was no need for a new investigation. The trade body said a review by the Department of Culture Media and Sport last year concluded there was no evidence for a ban on daytime TV ads.
“All the evidence was considered and it was deemed there wasn’t significant evidence to make a change of that kind,” said RGA chief executive Clive Hawkswood. “We would never say things can’t be improved but what’s the justification? Some people have a gut reaction and that’s slightly hard to deal with.”
The Advertising Association, whose members include broadcasters ITV, Channel 4 and Sky, also denied there was any reason to ban daytime gambling ads.
“It’s not unusual for people to propose advertising bans when they’re looking to make a point,” said a spokesperson. “We are open to the conversation and anyone putting new evidence around advertising gambling. Yes, advertising around online gambling has grown significantly but that hasn’t flowed through to any significant increase in problem gambling.” Figures compiled by resesarch and analysis firm Nielsen show that broadcasters have earnt in £162 million from gambling TV spot ads already this year, compared to £118 million last year.