The Betting and Gaming Council is set to voluntarily remove all TV and radio product advertising during the Covid-19 lockdown.
Direct marketing has also significantly dropped while members have committed to further increases in safer gambling messaging online. Existing TV and radio advertising slots will be replaced by safer gambling messages, donated to charities or removed from broadcast where contracts permit.
“We have been working closely with our member companies since this crisis began to monitor the impact of betting and gaming,” said BGC chief executive Michael Dugher. “There hasn’t been an explosion in people betting online as some had predicted – in fact, the opposite is true with total revenue down by up to 60 per cent. Overall gambling levels have also fallen significantly as a result of betting shops and casinos closing and the suspension of live sport. And whilst advertising levels on sports and casino are also down, again contrary to some assertions, we recognise that removing product advertising will act as a further safeguard during covid-19.”
As expected, anti-gambling lobbyists have already begun to use the BGC’s proactivity against the industry, with a former addict arguing that advertising should not return once the lockdown ends, and MPs accusing the Gambling Commission of being so soft that the industry must self-regulate.