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What if gambling adverts in the UK were banned?

  • 18-Jan-2017

TV adverts promoting gambling could soon be outlawed

As we draw nearer to the end of another rollercoaster year that has witnessed gargantuan M&A activity, the announcement of Brexit has left many in the i-gaming and lottery industries reeling. Could it get any worse for the UK market?

Well, yes it could. A recent announcement by Culture Secretary Karen Bradley sent out a stark warning that TV adverts promoting gambling could soon be outlawed.

Under current UK legislation, bingo, lottery and sports betting adverts are exempt from a ban on TV gambling advertising which currently applies before the standard nine o’clock watershed.

However, it is fair to say that the wind of change has been building for a while with the ongoing debate on social responsibility in regard to problem gambling, both online and in betting shops, and with fixed-odds betting terminals increasingly under the media and political spotlight. Defending the legal status quo is not helped by analysis which shows that in 2005 the volume of gambling adverts was 90,000, but had increased to 1.4 million in 2014. (Source: The Telegraph).

If an advertising ban is introduced in the UK, how could it affect the industry? The power of TV advertising has undoubtedly contributed to the stellar growth and fortune of several operators in the UK, and therefore some could see a reversal of fortunes if brand advertising on TV is no longer part of the advertising mix to attract players.

Coupled with Brexit acting as a proverbial ‘Sword of Damocles’ over the industry, we could see a trend similar to that in the banking sector with many operators deciding to move out of the UK market altogether. 2017 is undoubtedly going to be a challenging time for everyone in the i-gaming and lottery industry and supply chain.