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INSIGHT GAMBLING ADVERTISING


Te Future of Gambling Advertising in Europe


Te regulatory advertising landscape is making it increasingly difficult for the industry to promote its products.


Spain is looking increasing likely to impose some kind of ban on advertising. Italy already has rules in place taking a hard line against advertising for operators and new regulations look likely in the UK. So where are the restrictions in place when it comes to advertising in the major European markets? Are we seeing a new trend emerging whereby gambling firms will be forced to restrict advertising via traditional platforms and look for new innovative solutions? And how will marketing companies adapt to these new regulations?


In the UK, the number of negative stories continues to rise with the mainstream media painting a picture of an industry that is out of control and even predatory. Most shocking of all the Daily Mail has even gone as far to say that the industry has “blood on its hands” directly linking gambling with suicides. Most of the negative coverage focuses on advertising practices which the mainstream press depicts as essentially immoral. Meanwhile the Church of England has launched its own bid to find out how often gambling is a factor when people take their own lives.


Most recently in a widely publicised letter addressed to the Gambling Commission, the mental health chief of the NHS warned of the links between gambling and mental health problems.


Claire Murdoch argued that the link between betting and mental illness is ‘increasingly clear’ and the prevalence of gambling in society is ‘causing harm’. In the letter, she criticised tactics that ‘turn the occasional flutter into a dangerous habit’. These include bet-to- view live streaming of sporting events


and pervasive advertising.


In January Health Secretary Matt Hancock backed Mrs Murdoch’s demands, stating: ‘‘Betting companies need to do more to prioritise the mental health impact of problem gamblers. I strongly support the work that Claire Murdoch is doing to insist that betting companies do what is necessary.’ He added that it was ‘absolutely right’ of the NHS to warn that taxpayers could no longer foot the bill for gambling addiction and backed calls for a ban on ‘bet-to-view’ sports and pervasive advertising.


As a result of the increasing scrutiny of the close relationship between sport and the betting industry ministers are reviewing the 2005 Gambling Act and are widely expected to tighten the rules governing how bookmakers operate. This means that the biggest change to gambling rules for years could be on the way including restrictions and maybe even a ban on football club sponsorship.


However the gambling industry has already undertaken voluntary codes of


P44 NEWSWIRE / INTERACTIVE / MARKET DATA


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