Gambling ads in 95% of TV football matches

Gambling adverts feature in 95 per cent of advertising breaks during football matches, a BBC investigation has revealed.

The Victoria Derbyshire programme also found that during live football games one in five adverts were for betting firms, rising to more than one in three for some games.

Another recent study recorded more than 250 separate gambling adverts on screen during Match of the Day, including shirt sponsors, hoardings and during post-match interviews.


Gambling adverts on TV are currently banned before the watershed, but are permitted during live sports broadcasts or for bingo, but critics say these exceptions are drawing people into gambling.

Matt Zarb-Cousin of the Campaign for Fairer Gambling said that gambling adverts have “swamped” the Premier League, adding that betting is seen as part of the social experience of football.

He said: “We are concerned about the effects of children and young people being exposed to gambling advertising due to the pre-watershed exemption for live sporting events.”

‘Long overdue’

The news comes as the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport considers whether new restrictions are needed on gambling advertising, with a report expected within the next few weeks.

Labour MP Jo Stevens said the review was “long overdue”, and admitted that the Labour Party “got it wrong” when it liberalised gambling laws a decade ago.

She said: “In 2007 we didn’t really know what technology would bring to the gambling industry.”

She called for a ban on adverts for gambling companies at sports grounds and on players’ shirts.


Speaking in the House of Lords, Lord Sugar hit out at gambling adverts and branded the ‘gamble responsibly’ slogan “absolutely pathetic”.

He said: “It is my personal belief that it is these adverts that are the major culprits to induce young people to gamble. Frankly, these adverts are too clever and too luring.”

Earlier in the year, both Australia and Belgium decided to ban all gambling advertising in live sport before the watershed.

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