Major Bookies to Remove Gambling Ads During Cobid-19 Lockdown

28 April 2020

It’s not often you hear gambling operators volunteering to remove their television and radio adverts, but there’s a first for everting. We’re living in unprecedented times and with what seems the vast majority of the globe working from home, boredom could lead to gambling and this is not the outcome the global gambling regulators want.

Gambling TV and radio adverts removed from the air

TV and radio adverts for gaming are to be removed from the air in the UK in a voluntary move by the gambling industry trade body, following concerns that gambling advertising during this crisis is leading to a surge in problem gambling. The Betting and Gaming Council (BGC) represents 90% of the UK betting industry and revealed that the latest step to tackle problem gambling would cover casino, slots and bingo advertisements.

Have you noticed an influx of online casinos alerting you to safer gambling lately? This is due to the coronavirus. Where gambling ads were scheduled to take place, safer gambling messages will be shown instead. The changes are scheduled to come into effect on May 7th until June 5th when we expect lockdown to be relaxed.

BGC chief executive Michael Dugher said: “From day one of this crisis we have sought to protect customers potentially at risk, including announcing stepping up safer gambling measures as part of our ten pledges for Covid-19 in March. This latest move by the regulated industry further underlines our commitment to safer betting and gaming with many people cut off and feeling anxious.”

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Campaigners are hoping the voluntary step will see more gambling operators jump on board, including the likes of the National Lottery, however, this is not a requirement. Dugher added: “We have been working closely with our member companies since this crisis began to monitor the impact of betting and gaming. There hasn’t been an explosion in people betting online as some had predicted – in fact, the opposite is true with total revenue down by up to 60 per cent.

Overall, gambling levels have also fallen significantly as a result of betting shops and casinos closing and the suspension of live sport. And while advertising levels on sports and casino are also down, again contrary to some assertions, we recognise that removing product advertising will act as a further safeguard during Covid-19.”

Will other countries be following suit? Europe has a very strict approach to gambling, and we suspect that many overseas gambling operators will also join the bid to tackle problem gambling. Carolyn Harris MP, the chair of the Gambling Related Harm All Party Parliamentary Group tweeted: “We must prevent a rise in problem gambling during this unsettling period and this forms a crucial part of achieving this.”

With all sports events canceled, we’re seeing no gambling ads on our screens for bet in-play markets, but as soon as the sports return, so will the bookies.