UK firms drop TV and radio ads

UK gambling firms push pause on TV and radio ads.
UK gambling firms push pause on TV and radio ads.

Betting and Gaming Council members to remove TV and radio ads during the Covid-19 lockdown.

UK.- Britain’s largest betting and gaming firms will voluntarily remove all television and radio advertising for the rest of the Covid-19 lockdown.

The announcement was made by The Betting and Gaming Council (BGC), which represents around 90 per cent of the UK betting and gaming industry.

All BGC members will commit to remove advertising on television and radio by May 7 at the latest. The commitment to remove ads will remain in place until the government eases lockdown restrictions, and at least until June 5.

BGC Chief Executive, Michael Dugher, said in a statement: ‘This latest move by the regulated industry further underlines our commitment to safer betting and gaming with many people cut off and feeling anxious.”

He added: “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.

“Whilst 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.

“Throughout this crisis, as the new standards body, the BGC has worked very closely with the Government.

“Ministers and the regulator all deserve credit for their steadfast and consistent determination to have an evidence-led approach and to rightly call for higher standards.

“There will always been alarmist noises from anti-gambling prohibitionists who just want to grab headlines. But it is this serious, constructive and evidence-led approach by the BGC’s regulated members that has resulted in this further major change.”

The new body said UK betting firms would replace existing TV and radio advertising slots with safer gambling messages, donate the slots to charities or remove them completely.

The UK Advertising Standards Authority recently raised concerns about gambling advertising.

The BGC said that TV sport and casino advertisements volume had already dropped by up to 10 per cent. It said direct marketing by BGC members had also dropped. 

BGC members account for around 50 per cent of all gambling advertising on TV and radio in the UK.

The BGC said it hoped the main remaining betting operators like National Lottery, society lotteries and bingo operators would follow its lead.

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