“Buzzers at the ready” is a standard line from the reality TV show, Britain’s Got Talent (BTG). It has now been borrowed by a gambling website being promoted by the show’s judge, David Walliams, landing the millionaire in hot water with the public. It’s not too surprising that he would be tapped for the promotions, since the site—called Britain’s Got Talent Games—is branded by BTG. Perhaps they also want to seek out talented poker players, and not just singers and dancers.
Walliams, who apart from being a BTG judge writes children’s books, has been slammed for promoting the BGT Games site, which offers casino and slot games, in its radio promotions. The ready spots start with an introduction, “Everyone’s favorite talent show has been given a star-studded slingo twist.” Slingo refers to online single and multi-players games that combine elements of both slot machines and bingo.
The 46-year-old multi-millionaire agreed to the promotions in which he encourages listeners to sign up, prompting problem gambling experts and fans to come out from everywhere and admonish him for the move. One fan stated, “Unimpressed if it is you and you are endorsing online gambling when you have such a high profile with kids & families #gamblingaware #ethics #mental- health #poverty.”
Liz Karter, a specialist in gambling addiction, also blasted Walliams, stating, “David doing this means the site could potentially appeal to children. In a way it gives gambling a softer image. Because David is a children’s author this could give the feeling of gambling being an innocent pastime—which of course it can be, but it can also lead to addiction…Adverts reach people who are vulnerable and could become addicted.”
Charity group GambleAware has also voiced its concern over the promotions. In a statement, CEO March Etches said the group is “concerned about the normalization of gambling for children, in particular by the promotion of gambling by popular family entertainment programs.” He added, “…we all share a responsibility to protect children from gambling-related harm and this includes those who profit from shows such as Britain’s Got Talent.”
Walliams, who is reportedly worth over $40 million, hasn’t issued a response to his detractors.