As more attention is focused on consumer protection and gambling addiction in the UK, one of the largest satellite TV and pay-per-view providers in the world is implementing a new internal policy. Sky has announced that it will substantially limit the number of gambling ads seen through its platform.
Prior to the start of the next Premier League season, which will begin in August of next year, Sky will reduce the number of TV gambling spots to one for every commercial break. The policy will apply to all of the channels for which it sells advertising, including its popular Sky Sports channels.
Currently, gambling ads cannot be shown before 9 PM in the UK, according to recent law changes. This restriction, however, does not apply to live sports broadcasts, which can see as many as four gambling ads during each commercial break. Sky Sports channels routinely broadcast ads during breaks that promote a variety of in-play sports betting options.
The new policy will restrict ads of any type, including online casinos, poker, sports betting and bingo. They will be applied to all broadcasts at all hours, including those that air after 9 PM and in the middle of the night. The move is a voluntary measure that was taken by Sky in response to a push by responsible gaming groups, which have been pushing the government to implement wide-reaching restrictions on gambling advertising.
Along with the restriction, Sky is also developing a new technology that will give TV viewers the ability to block gambling ads on all Sky and Virgin Media TV platforms. That AdSmart technology is expected to be introduced in June 2020 and will be made available on over 140 channels.
According to Stephen van Rooyen, Sky UK and Ireland CEO, “Our customers are worried about gambling ads on TV – and we understand their concerns. That’s why we’ve committed to limiting the amount of gambling ads on Sky and better protecting those vulnerable to problem gambling.”
Gambling ads in the UK have been possible since 2007 when rules prohibiting them were lifted. However, there is now a renewed and dedicated push to put the restrictions back in place in an effort to cut down on gambling addiction and improve responsible gaming guidelines on the part of operators.