UK operators to devote 20% of TV, radio ads to ‘safer gambling’ messages


UK gambling operators have pledged to devote 20% of their TV and radio advertising to ‘safer gambling’ messaging

Last Friday, the Betting & Gaming Council (BGC) noted that its members’ voluntary suspension of TV and radio advertising during the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown was coming to its scheduled close. Ad spots already booked for this period that couldn’t be cancelled were replaced by safer gambling messaging or donated to charities.

The BGC, which represents the UK’s major gambling operators, said Friday that its members had agreed to “ensure that at least 20 per cent of all advertising on TV and radio will be safer gambling adverts.” However, BGC CEO Michel Dugher expressed pessimism that any such moves by gambling operators would satisfy “prohibitionists from the anti-gambling lobby.”

Those critics will likely continue to point out that the BGC’s ad rules don’t apply to online advertising, which accounts for the vast majority of UK gambling marketing spending. The BGC says its members are voluntarily introducing “a default 25+ rule for advertising online where the platform cannot confidently ensure that customers are over 18.”

The BGC agrees that children shouldn’t be able to view gambling promos on social media or sites like YouTube and thus it was “working with the major online platforms on Ad Tech to proactively target marketing away from children.”

Meanwhile, BGC members who run retail operations are furiously preparing for the June 15 reopening of their betting shops, after the government announced the lifting of the ban on ‘non-essential’ retail operations nearly three months ago. UK casinos won’t get the nod to re-open until July 4.

Dugher (pictured) visited a Coral betting shop in London last week to highlight the new health and safety precautions that punters will encounter when they visit the reopened shops. Dugher claimed to be “hugely impressed” with the efforts operators are taking to ensure the safety of both customers and staff.