High pressure gambling adverts to be banned

Gambling adverts encouraging people to ‘bet now’ during live football matches will be banned under a new crackdown by the advertising watchdogs.

The Committee of Advertising Practice and the Broadcast Committee of Advertising Practice announced that they will tackle ads that “create an inappropriate sense of urgency”.

It means that adverts like those featuring actor Ray Winstone, regularly played during TV breaks with the slogan “bet in play – now”, will be banned from April.

95 per cent

The committees also announced that adverts offering free bonuses will face restrictions immediately.

Last year, a BBC investigation revealed that gambling adverts feature in 95 per cent of advertising breaks during football matches.

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

Problem gambling

Councillor Simon Blackburn, chairman of the Local Government Association’s Safer and Stronger Communities Board, gave his backing to the ban but called on BCAP to put greater restrictions in place.

“There must still be consideration of whether more curbs are needed alongside this. We’ve been working closely with our members to strengthen local gambling regulation, and it’s vital that this isn’t undermined by misleading or excessive levels of gambling advertising.

“We need to ensure that people, and particularly our children and young people, are kept safe and protected from the problems gambling can cause.

“Problem gambling can lead to spiralling debt, deteriorating mental health and wellbeing, and a toll on society — and taxpayers — through crime and disorder, family breakdown and homelessness”, he said.

Tougher action needed

An editorial in The Times newspaper said the new restrictions “are welcome but do not go far enough”.

“This is a good start, but no more than that. Ultimately, tougher action is needed and it should come from government. Campaigners have argued that all gambling advertising on television before the 9pm watershed should be banned.”

“Industry and the government are both making the right noises — but they need to get tough and change the rules as well, starting with a pre-9pm advertising ban”, it added.

Institute warning

It comes as GVC, the online betting company behind Foxy Bingo, was fined £350,000 for “repeatedly misleading consumers” with offers of free bonuses.

GVC is currently in the process of taking over Ladbrokes in a deal that would create the UK’s largest betting company.

Rules lifting advertising restrictions were introduced by the 2005 Gambling Act.

At the time, The Christian Institute warned that the adverts would appear everywhere from “street corners to television” and that this would “undoubtedly encourage gambling”.

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