So much for that gambling ad ban! Betting chiefs agree to stop adverts during live sport – but children will still be deluged
- Betting firms announced last month ‘whistle-to-whistle’ ad bans from summer
- However between December 21 and January 3 more than 250 commercials, or 16 per game, were shown during live football matches – a third more than last year
- Most adverts in one game was 28, during Manchester City and Liverpool match
Children are still likely to be bombarded with gambling adverts during live TV sporting events – even when the industry’s much-touted ‘ban’ is introduced, the Daily Mail can reveal.
Betting firms announced last month that they will stop running advertisements around live televised football matches from this summer.
The ban will start five minutes before pre-watershed live games and end five minutes after the final whistle.
But a Mail audit of TV games over Christmas found more than half the gambling adverts shown fell outside this ‘whistle-to-whistle’ period.
Despite industry claims that the ban will ‘drastically reduce’ betting advertising on TV, viewers are still likely to be besieged by it.
Between December 21 and January 3 more than 250 commercials, or 16 per game, were shown during live football matches – a third more per match than in the equivalent period last year.
Of those, close to 130 were in the build-up or post-match analysis – outside the ‘whistle-to-whistle’ period,
The most adverts in one game was 28, for last Thursday’s top-of-the-table clash between Manchester City and Liverpool, 18 of which were outside the restricted period.
Every match analysed had gambling advertisements on pitch-side hoardings and more than half featured a team with a betting company as primary shirt sponsor, meaning hundreds more marketing messages appeared during the matches.
Last night MPs said they will now launch a formal inquiry into gambling advertising on television and the internet.
The most adverts in one game was 28, for last Thursday’s top-of-the-table clash between Manchester City and Liverpool
Labour MP Carolyn Harris, chairman of the all-party parliamentary group (APPG) for gambling, said: ‘The industry is absolutely relentless. If there is a loophole, the industry will find a way to exploit it to the detriment of others.
‘They have no compassion – to them people are disposable. The group will take evidence. We really want to make recommendations.’
Former Tory leader Iain Duncan Smith, the vice-chairman of the APPG, added: ‘We are going to have a full review around football and other sporting events. The whole process has got to be looked into because young people are being bombarded with different adverts.’
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Labour deputy leader Tom Watson said: ‘It’s not acceptable that millions of people, including children and problem gamblers, trying to enjoy one of the traditional Boxing Day games, are being bombarded with gambling advertising.
‘This is the reality every single match day, whether fans watch from home or the stadium.’
The Daily Mail watched the 16 Premier League matches screened live between December 21 and January 3 on Sky Sports and BT Sport.
A total of 254 adverts for gambling firms were screened during the build-up, half-time and post-match analysis.
Close to 130 of this year’s advertisements were outside the ‘whistle to whistle’ ban period – making up 51 per cent of all gambling adverts – and nearly nine in ten were aired before the 9pm watershed.
Between December 21 and January 3 more than 250 commercials, or 16 per game, were shown during live matches. Pictured is the Southampton v West Ham match from December 27
On Boxing Day, fans were subjected to 43 adverts in three matches on Sky Sports.
The adverts over the Christmas period were placed by Britain’s biggest gambling brands, including BetFair, PaddyPower and William Hill.
The most prolific advertiser was Bet365, which aired 110 sponsorship messages and advertisements, including ones fronted by actor Ray Winstone.
Ladbrokes showed advertisements featuring Inbetweeners actor James Buckley and ex-boxer Frank Bruno. Former sports commentator John Motson also appeared in an advert for Football Index.
Campaigners said the whistle-to-whistle advert ban for the 2019/20 season will have a limited effect because the majority of bookmakers’ advertising spend is online.
Liz and Charles Ritchie, of Gambling with Lives, said: ‘We should also not forget the £750million spent on direct marketing. Much stricter regulation on online gambling marketing is essential.’
Clive Hawkswood, chief executive of the Remote Gambling Association, which represents 35 online operators including Bet365, said: ‘The biggest concern during the Government review was the concentration of adverts around the period when people switched on.
‘That’s not to say other things won’t be looked at in annual reviews.’
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