The British viewers of the World Cup were exposed to extensive gambling advertising at the time of the tournament, with this raising concerns in regards to the children who were targeted with messages enticing them to place a bet.
As revealed by The Guardian, ITV aired over eight and a half hours of advertisements from the beginning of the World Cup 2018 to the semi-final clash between the teams of England and Croatia, of which gambling adverts equalled to almost an hour and a half. According to estimates, this equals to about 17% of the overall ad breaks during the World Cup 2018, with a total of 172 gambling spots being almost as long as a football match.
The Guardian reported that web-based casino operators and bookmakers got one and a half times more than alcohol companies, and approximately four times more than fast-food brands. According to information revealed, gambling got a total of 88 minutes of screen time, followed by motoring with 68 minutes on air. In addition, unnamed sources from the advertising industry have revealed that a 30-second advert during the semi-final of the 2018 World Cup could be priced as much as £350,000 but also shared that online gambling operators and bookmakers were usually ready to pay more in order to make sure they would get coverage.
Gambling Adverts Restrictions Lifted by Tony Blair’s Government
A gambling regulation review published by the UK Government earlier in 2018 has not suggested stricter monitoring on gambling advertising, as it said the evidence that betting adverts were having a negative effect to children and more vulnerable individuals was not sufficient enough.
Tom Watson, the deputy leader of the Labour Party, as well as the charity organisation GambleAware, criticised the lack of stricter regulation on the matter and explained that was partly due to lack of enough funding for research into gambling advertising. The restrictions on the latter were removed by the Government of Tony Blair in 2007. Mr. Watson further shared that children in the UK were literally “bombarded” with gambling advertising on TV and social media, making thousands of minors exposed to the possible harmful impact of gambling. He further scolded the Government, saying that it had turned a blind eye to the problem instead of confronting the issue directly.
Labour’s deputy leader also said that his party would impose a mandatory levy on the industry, aimed at funding more in-depth research on the matter, as well as education and treatment programs for problem gambling, gambling-related harm and gambling advertising’s effects. The mandatory levy has been backed by the charity organisation GambleAware which has been engaged in helping gambling addicts deal with their problem gambling behaviour.
The charity has previously reported that there are more than 400,000 problem gamblers on the territory of the UK. GambleAware has also recently commissioned the first key piece of research concerning the effects of gambling adverts which have been subjected to a more relaxed regulation after Tony Blair’s Government lifted the restrictions on gambling adverts more than a decade ago. The completion of the study is expected to be made in 2019.