UK gambling officials commented on the amount gambling operators spent on TV advertisements between 2012 and 2015.
The announcement made the headlines last week when a reputable UK media released information that the amount of £465 million was spent on poker, bingo, casino and sports betting ads from the beginning of 2012 to the end of 2015. Back in 2012, the amount invested in gambling ads totalled £81.2 million and the sum gradually increased to reach £118.5 million for 2015.
According to a previous research, the UK TV audience was shown gambling-related ads 152,000 times in 2006, but that number went beyond one million in 2012. Meanwhile, the 2005 Gambling Act came into force and the operators were given more freedom as far as advertising of their services was concerned.
The CEO of the Remote Gambling Association, Clive Hawkswood, was quoted as saying that the communities had the right to be mindful about the gambling-related ads, the potential risks they hide and the negative impact they might have on the vulnerable part of the population.
However, he said there were no convincing arguments that the intense broadcasting of gambling ads would lead to problem gambling. He provided solid facts defending his stance and added that there was no significant difference in the problem gambling levels a decade ago, when gambling ads were limited, and now when they are widespread.
He also reminded that all forms of gambling advertising were overseen by the Advertising Standards Authority, known as a strict regulator. Based on the evidence the ASA supplied the Department for Culture, Media & Sport with, the final decision was that there is no need major reforms to be made.
In conclusion, he said that the government has made the right decision, but as the gambling ads tend to be frowned upon, they should be closely monitored.
The numbers released last week were considered worrisome by opponents of the excessive gambling advertising. According to them, gambling ads make the problem gambling issues even more serious.
They drew as an example the way gambling operators do business. They attract players who, at one stage, lose what they can afford and quit playing. Then, the operators need to attract new players and the freedom to advertise their services helps them achieve that goal. The gambling ads opponents accused the government of not taking the situation seriously and allowing the money saved on taxes to be spent on advertising.
The current legislative framework prohibits the broadcast of gambling ads before 9 p.m. Yet, UK authorities made a compromise and temporarily lift the ban during Euro 2016.