With the football season starting this week, many expect to be bombarded with adverts from the bookies. From attractive outright odds on Premier League winners to in-play offers that are almost too good to be true, the first few months of the football calendar are renowned for turning the occasional gambler into a prolific one.
This is why we are seeing the subject
of betting advertising revisited. As of August 1st , ‘whistle-to-whistle’ advertising from betting firms will be banned. What this means is that live sporting events broadcast before the watershed will be devoid of any betting messages; a change that has been welcomed hugely by responsible gambling charities and organisations alike.
But, betting adverts and sporting events have been intertwined for many years. So, why the huge U-turn?
The betting industry faced widespread criticism during the 2018 World Cup in Russia, with the tournament’s strong connection with a number of betting sites not sitting well with gambling bodies. This is due to the magnitude of the World Cup, enjoyed and followed by a worldwide audience made up of all ages.
Exposing billions of adults and children to enticing betting promotions, many found the level of betting focus crass and dangerous.
Now, betting-focused advertising will stop 5 minutes before a televised event kicks off and reintroduced 5 minutes following the conclusion. This does not include horse racing or dog racing; two betting markets that are exempt from changes.
"The intent is the diminution of pre-watershed televised advertising around sport with the exception of horseracing and greyhounds,” said Wes Himes, the chief executive of the Remote Gambling Association.
"We acknowledged the concerns that were raised in various quarters, particularly after the World Cup, and the industry took a proactive, unprompted approach to addressing the issue with the fifth edition of the IGRG code and the whistle-to-whistle ban.”
What is so interesting about this ban is that it is has been introduced by the betting industry itself, not an external body or organisation. Understanding their responsibilities to promote responsible gambling and limit exposure to vulnerable demographics, this is certainly a positive move made by betting brands. However, this is just one example of self-regulation in the modern betting industry.
Another is Paddy Power's latest marketing campaign. Arguably one of the cleverest of our time, the Save Our Shirt campaign has resulted in Paddy Power ‘unsponsoring' several British football clubs. With a mission to remove shirt sponsorship, Paddy Power are actively doing their bit to stamp out problem gambling and limit who betting sites advertise to and when.
The popular Irish bookmaker has confirmed that each of the clubs now sponsored by them will see all advertising completely removed from their shirts.
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