British betting firms are willing to spare some of their dough to help the government with its problem gambling awareness campaign.
The Guardian reported that gambling companies are ready to extend monetary help to the government’s problem gambling ad campaign, which is expected to have an £8 million (US$10.84 million) price tag.
The betting firms’ offer comes just days the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) upheld complaints against marketing content created by an affiliate working for 888 Holdings, Ladbrokes, Sky Betting & Gaming and Casumo.
The operators evidently hope that the government will see their gesture as proof that they are really committed to tackle problem gambling in UK.
But British gambling scold Tom Watson questioned the sincerity of these gambling firms, especially with the government mulling tighter restrictions on betting adverts to tackle concerns about problem gambling.
The Deparment of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) is set to issue its review on the gambling industry, which will highlight the rising number of betting advertisements on television.
“There must be no stitch-up to help the gambling industry avoid tighter restrictions on advertising,” Labour’s Watson said. “Industry-funded campaigns highlighting the risks of problem gambling are all very well, but they can’t be an alternative to regulation.”
Watson further went on with his rhetoric that UK is facing a hidden epidemic of problem gambling, urging the government “to look in particular at advertising that children are more likely to see.”
This includes pre-watershed gambling advertising around live sporting events, and football shirt sponsorship by betting firms.
Aside from gambling firms, broadcasters and the advertising industry have also expressed their willingness to help the government with its campaign. The report said that commercial TV channels might give free airtime to problem gambling awareness campaign-related advertisements.
The government is targeting to launch the campaign in early 2018.