The UK Gambling Commission has called for a constructive debate on the issues of gambling advertising in sport, including sponsorship arrangements, issuing a warning to the gambling industry that they need to tackle the issue voluntarily or face legal measures.
Speaking at the Responsible Marketing for Gambling Operators conference, the Gambling Commission’s Programme Director Ian Angus said that public trust in gambling is at a low point and it would not be wise for betting companies to ignore the changing public mood.
His comments follow the recent announcement by the opposition Labour Party of a set of stringent marketing restrictions that aim to replicate the ban on gambling advertising during live sporting events that was brought into effect in Australia at the beginning of the year.
Angus said that the hardening of the public mood was the result of a number of factors. In some cases, he said, people had a moral reaction, while others were simply irritated at being bombarded with gambling adverts, but the overall effect was a growing public concern:
Parliamentary questions on advertising are tabled almost weekly, media headlines scream about irresponsible marketing practices, and prominent politicians, from across the political divide, are calling for drastic measures to reduce children’s exposure.”
He also highlighted the failings of the industry on the issue of free bet and bonus marketing, stating that betting companies had been warned repeatedly about potentially misleading marketing practices, but had failed to act and as a result the Competition and Markets Authority had taken enforcement action, while the Commission had to impose millions of pounds worth of financial penalties.
Angus advised betting companies to avoid a similar scenario around advertising by listening to what politicians and the public were saying and adopt a responsible approach to marketing.
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Andie Hughes is a UK-based freelance betting and gambling writer with over a decade of experience in the industry, having written for Betfair, ESPN, Boylesports, Sporting Life and various other popular betting sites. Contact Andie at firstname.lastname@example.org.