web analytics

Stop bombarding our kids with betting ads

If cigarette commercials are banned and alcohol ones restricted, why is the gambling industry able to target children?

It’s not just football that has got the betting buzz. Test matches are accompanied by former players sitting around discussing how “cricket is a good game to bet on” — even though the sport is embroiled in match-fixing scandals linked to gambling syndicates. From the Commonwealth Games to the Tour de France, gambling has become an integral part of sport, rather than something confined to horse-racing. Rory McIlroy’s father recently made £50,000 from a bet that his son would win the Open.

Smartphone technology has made it possible to have a financial as well as an emotional stake in the game instantly wherever you are. The betting industry is booming, with revenues of £6 billion after winnings were paid out in 2012-13. But surely it can’t be right for sports programmes watched by children to include commercials for bookies, casinos and betting apps that normalise and glamorise gambling?

Advertisements for cigarettes have long been banned on television, and strict broadcasting regulations exist for alcohol to ensu1re that beer, wine and spirits commercials cannot be aired during shows watched predominantly by the young. Yet there are no controls whatsoever on betting ads. In fact, there has been an explosion in gambling advertising in the past seven years since Labour liberalised the industry.

In 2007 when the Gambling Act allowed sports betting, online casinos and poker to be promoted on television, there were 234,000 gambling ads on TV. Last year there were 1.39 million — a 600 per cent increase. These ads now account for 4.1 per cent of all television advertising, up from 0.5 per cent before the change.

betting ads

The betting companies spend about £150 million a year on commercials broadcast straight into people’s homes. And of course many, if not most, of these adverts go out before the watershed. The broadcasting regulator Ofcom recently found that children aged four to fifteen are exposed to an average of 211 betting ads a year each. It may be no coincidence that, according to an Ipsos MORI poll, 15 per cent of young teenagers said that they had engaged in some kind of gambling in the previous week.

There are growing concerns that children are deliberately being “groomed” to become gamblers by sites that offer “free” stakes. One online poker operator, PKR, invites users to “join the next generation”, saying they can “play for free or real money”. Yet the young do not always have the wisdom or the self-control to know when to stop. Sixty per cent of the calls to the industry-backed helpline Gam Care are from 18 to 35-year-olds. According to one estimate, 2 per cent of 12 to 15-year-olds and 1 per cent of 16 to 24-year-olds now have a gambling problem.

There has been extraordinarily little research done on the impact of gambling ads. The betting companies are, not surprisingly, reluctant to release data on how effective they are. But it’s a racing certainty that the companies wouldn’t spend so much money on them unless they thought the commercials worked.

A recent research paper by Per Binde, of the University of Gothenburg, commissioned by the Responsible Gambling Trust, concluded: “There are reasons to believe that at least some gambling advertising has a negative influence because it contributes to the prevalence of problem gambling.” In one Swedish study 28 per cent of problem gamblers said they had gambled more because of advertising. Another poll of young people found that 40 per cent said they were more likely to buy a lottery ticket if they saw an advert, while 13 per cent of undergraduate poker players reported that they began gambling because of advertising.

Even Gerry Sutcliffe, the Labour sports minister who introduced the reform that allowed this betting free-for-all, has admitted his government got it wrong. “We did not envisage so much advertising for sports betting before the 9pm watershed,” he told the Commons last November, as he expressed his concern that some of the adverts “almost pressure people into betting”.

Politicians from all parties are starting to wake up to the issue. Last week Harriet Harman announced that Labour was considering introducing a multimillion-pound levy on all sports betting if it wins power. In the House of Lords Labour peers have been pressing the government to change the law to limit gambling adverts on TV. “A lot of the ads are completely misleading,” says Baroness Jones of Whitchurch, who has tabled amendments to legislation. “They say you can place a bet for nothing, but it’s not as simple as that.”

There have been similar moves in the House of Commons, where Jake Berry, MP for Rossendale, introduced a bill attempting to ban betting adverts before 9pm. This, he warns, is the first generation growing up with gambling seen as a socially acceptable form of entertainment enjoyed at home rather than behind darkened windows at the bookies. “Constant adverts for gambling condition young people into believing gambling is a fun, glamorous activity,” he says.

Of course, there are many responsible gamblers, who have the money and self-discipline to win against the odds. But we shouldn’t be encouraging children to think gambling is an integral part of sport. It’s the taking part, or the cheering on, that matters.

Before she resigned, Maria Miller, the previous culture secretary, announced a review but despite clamping down on fixed-odds betting terminals the government has still done nothing on gambling ads. David Cameron should step in. Gambling is not just a harmless leisure activity, it can be an addiction as dangerous as smoking, drinking or drugs. The poorest in society are the most vulnerable, especially in a recession with soaring levels of debt. This is a moral, as much as an economic issue. It’s time to cash out on the betting ad bonanza.

Comments (74)
  1. use this link April 16, 2017
  2. links of london sale April 17, 2017
  3. longchamp online shop April 18, 2017
  4. michael kors April 18, 2017
  5. nike huarache April 19, 2017
  6. michael kors outlet April 21, 2017
  7. lacoste outlet April 21, 2017
  8. yeezy boost 350 April 21, 2017
  9. ylang ylang oil April 22, 2017
  10. michael kors handbags April 22, 2017
  11. Guadalupe Antuna April 22, 2017
  12. Lore Melgoza April 22, 2017
  13. click site April 22, 2017
  14. lacoste online shop April 22, 2017
  15. linked here April 22, 2017
  16. click this April 23, 2017
  17. michael kors outlet April 23, 2017
  18. yeezy boost April 23, 2017
  19. Full Report April 23, 2017
  20. straight from the source April 23, 2017
  21. click this over here now April 23, 2017
  22. chrome hearts online April 23, 2017
  23. see this site April 23, 2017
  24. island April 24, 2017
  25. health news April 24, 2017
  26. business ideas April 24, 2017
  27. Definition of Technology April 24, 2017
  28. home repair April 24, 2017
  29. cruises April 24, 2017
  30. health and fitness April 24, 2017
  31. home improvement loans April 24, 2017
  32. flight April 24, 2017
  33. home improvement April 24, 2017
  34. bathroom remodel cost April 24, 2017
  35. international business April 24, 2017
  36. us-mattress.com reviews April 24, 2017
  37. yeezy boost 350 April 24, 2017
  38. basketball shoes April 24, 2017
  39. Pc April 25, 2017
  40. Mechanic April 25, 2017
  41. Click Here April 25, 2017
  42. blog here April 25, 2017
  43. yeezy boost April 25, 2017
  44. true religion jeans April 26, 2017
  45. check April 26, 2017
  46. finding best mattress April 26, 2017
  47. John Deere Repair Manuals April 26, 2017
  48. Automotive April 26, 2017
  49. Arts & Entertainment April 26, 2017
  50. Arts & Entertainment April 26, 2017
  51. Arts & Entertainment April 26, 2017
  52. hermes belt April 26, 2017
  53. look at this website April 27, 2017
  54. yeezy shoes April 27, 2017
  55. Business April 27, 2017
  56. pandora bracelet April 27, 2017
  57. mental health April 27, 2017
  58. book flight and hotel April 27, 2017
  59. kitchen remodel cost April 27, 2017
  60. Business April 27, 2017
  61. Business April 27, 2017
  62. Website April 27, 2017
  63. click to find out more April 27, 2017
  64. Fausto Aluise April 27, 2017
  65. Business April 27, 2017
  66. michael jordan shoes April 27, 2017
  67. more information April 27, 2017
  68. Travel World April 27, 2017
  69. Science & Education April 28, 2017
  70. Science & Education April 28, 2017
  71. Car & Automotive April 28, 2017

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *