The gambling advertising debate gathers further momentum with Sky announcement

David Clifton’s October 2018 Licensing Expert article for SBC News entitled “Time to start a constructive gambling marketing & advertising debate?” has attracted very considerable interest.

Now – following on from last month’s announcement by GVC Holdings PLC (the owner of Ladbrokes) that it supports a pre-9pm watershed gambling advertising ban – the UK broadcaster Sky has announced that it will very substantially reduce the number of gambling advertisements that it shows.

It will do this by imposing a limit of one gambling advertisement per commercial break on its channels from the start of the next Premier League season in August 2019. In addition, with effect from 2020, new technology will enable Sky viewers to exclude gambling advertising completely from the ads viewed by them during commercial breaks.

Commenting on this development in The Telegraph, Steven van Rooyen, chief executive of Sky UK, is quoted as saying:

Our customers are worried about gambling ads on TV – and we understand their concerns. That’s why we’ve committed to limiting the amount of gambling ads on Sky and better protecting those vulnerable to problem gambling.

He also drew attention to gambling advertising on online social media, saying:

There is still a real danger online – and there will be until online platforms are regulated as tightly as TV.

The Telegraph article also contains the following comment from rival sports broadcaster BT:
While we already limit the number of gambling adverts shown on our channels, we will continue to review our approach to bookmakers advertising and work closely with the ASA and other appropriate stakeholders.  In addition to this we are supporting Gambleaware’s initiative to highlight responsible gambling via a campaign that will run on BT Sport and other broadcasters. 
With SBC News reporting that DCMS Secretary of State, Jeremy Wright MP, has:
  • described Sky’s announcement as “a welcome move to protect vulnerable people from the impact of problem-gambling harms” and
  • called on other UK broadcasters to follow suit,

the gambling advertising debate looks set to gather considerable further momentum.