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Senior members of the Responsible Gaming Association (RGA) led by Bet365, Ladbrokes
and William Hill, has signified agreement to voluntarily ban betting adverts on live sport
coverages. As it is, the UK government permits gambling adverts during live sport matches
only before 9 PM.
However, rising concerns about the exposure of children, even to before
watershed events, have reached the ears of major UK gambling operators as well. In the
next RGA meeting this December, the 5-member organisation is set to rubber stamp a
proposal to altogether implement the ban within the next 6 months.
Although the RGA represents only the online betting firms, the senior RGA members expect
100 percent support on the proposed voluntary ban. One of whom commented that casting
a vote against it would be a very brave move, as doing so will make the online betting firm
stick out in isolation.
Way back In August 2018, leading UK Gambling firms reached a consensus that there is
indeed a need to put a curb on gambling adverts. They have acknowledged the fact it has
reached a point to which children already need protection against over-exposure to
promotions of live sports betting.
At that time tough, William Hill CEO Philip Bowcock stated that even if they acknowledge
that children are likely to be harmed by too much exposure to betting ads, the government
must initiate taking necessary actions to implement changes. Paddy Power Betfair CEO
Peter Jackson voiced his agreement for the imposition of tougher measures over live sport
adverts. However, he asserts that the gambling industry will face difficulties if they were to
impose such actions on its own. He added that unless the government passes a legislation,
there are irresponsible betting operators who may take advantage of the situation, rather
than heed mere policies on ad restrictions.
In September 2018, Labour Party Deputy Leader Tom Watson, announced that they pledge
to put forward legislation banning betting ads during TV coverages of live sport games.
Should the Labour Party win the next general election, a total ban on live sport gambling ads
will for part of their agenda to crackdown on elements that promote gambling addiction.
Tom Watson brands gambling addiction as a “hidden epidemic” that has now afflicted an
estimated 430,000 UK punters. He further stated that problem gambling has reached a level
that must be perceived as a public health emergency. He admitted though that the 2007
government previously run by the Labour Party did not take the issue of problem gambling
Still, they vow to do this time once empowered via the upcoming general election.
In response, Conservative Party Vice Chairman for Policy, Chris Skidmore, took note of
Labour’s admission of its mistake. That of liberalising UK’s gambling market during Labour’s
governance. Skidmore asserts that the Conservative Party’s track record shows that they
have been actively building and working on measures, to protect members of society most
vulnerable to the harms of gambling.