UK gambling ads rise six-fold since restrictions relaxed in 2007

TAGs: Betfair, gambling ads, gambling advertising, Ofcom

ofcom-uk-gambling-adsUK betting exchange operator Betfair is prepping a new ad campaign featuring real-time updates on cash-out values. The campaign will begin airing this weekend during selected football matches on Sky Sports, and will feature dynamic updates on wagering values thanks to a link between Betfair’s API and Sky TV, with which Betfair inked a partnership this August.

Meanwhile, UK media regulator Ofcom released statistics on Tuesday showing the volume of gambling ads has undergone a six-fold increase since restrictions were relaxed six years ago. Ofcom said 1.39m gambling adverts aired on UK televisions in 2012, up from just 90k in 2005. That figure rose to 234k in 2007, the year the Gambling Act 2005 took effect, and hit 955k in 2011.

Gambling ads as a percentage of all television advertising went from 0.5% in 2005 to 2.9% in 2011 to 4.1% last year, but a significant increase is natural given the strict policies that existed prior to 2007, which barred any form of gambling ad that wasn’t related to the national lottery, football pools or bingo halls. It’s also worth noting that the overall number of all categories of television ads rose from 17.4m to 34.2m during the period in question, which also saw a significant expansion in the number of specialty digital channels.

Ofcom’s figures for 2012 indicate that 38.3% of all gambling ads aired that year were for bingo, whose 532k spots eclipsed the combined 411k (29.6%) figure for online casino and poker products. Lotteries and scratch card ads totaled 355k (25.6%), while sports betting amounted to a mere 91k (6.6%), suggesting that you only thought you saw Ray Winstone pimping Bet365 every other commercial break.

In terms of ‘impacts’ i.e. the number of times viewers saw an ad, adults witnessed 30.9b gambling ads in 2012 compared to just 8b ads in 2006. Bingo dominated the impact charts by an even wider margin with 41.2%, followed by lotteries (27.2%), casino/poker (19.2%) and sports betting (12.4%). The vast majority of lottery and bingo ads air during the day before 5pm, whereas 20% of online casino and poker spots air between 9pm and 11pm, while 79% air after 11pm. A quarter of all sports betting ads aired between 9-11pm, with 59% airing after 11pm.

Terrestrial channels accounted for just 1.3% of all gambling ads in 2012, with music (22.1%) and ‘other’ (44.2%) specialty channels deemed more desirable by gambling firms. However, terrestrial channels still accounted for the greatest share of gambling impacts, although this figure is falling, down from 73.9% in 2005 to 41.2% in 2012.


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