UK Gambling Advertising Under The Microscope
UK gambling laws have come under question this month following a Sunday Times article claiming online casinos are targeting children in their advertisements. Currently a government investigation and possible review of the impact of current gaming laws is pending which may have huge implications for the gambling industry in the UK.
Currently the UK hosts the most liberal, yet well-regulated online gaming industry and has acted as a benchmark for many countries around the world. The freedoms granted to the industry have been called into question however. The recent Sunday Times article raised the issue of targeting minors in advertisement with the use of animated characters and figures from children’s stories like Jack and the Beanstalk and Peter Pan.
A UK Labour MP Jo Stevens, recently spoke to BBC Two and came out against the industry. She said that gambling operators should be denied advertising their brand at sports venues or on team uniforms. She says she and many other MP’s are very worried about the role of gambling advertisements and rising gambling addiction in the country.
Stevens also quotes figures for the industry’s advertising spending. Online gaming operators spent more than £280 million on Premier League advertising which is almost tripling the 2010/2011 budget on advertising. Overall gaming operators spent £456 million on television advertisement from 2012 to 2015. Stevens feels that this massive increase in advertising expenditure would not happen if advertising was not working for operators.
A Review Of Outdated Laws
Stevens feels that when online gambling was legalised 10 years ago, regulators were unaware of the impact the technology would eventually have. She strongly feels that the government needs to review the current legislation and bring it into line with current trends in the industry. The government report is set to be published by the end of October, with the report mostly focussing on fixed odd betting machines that have popped up in many sports betting shops.
The industry now waits with baited breath to see what the results of this investigation will be. The UK currently has a very well regulated industry that places the player at the centre of their legislation. Attacking operators for advertising their products however is a bit of an overreach for the government.
Advertising seems to be the current focus for many opposed to legalised gambling as the rest of the industry is so well regulated. The ASA and UKGC have already requested online casino operators to severely alter their online advertising to prevent appealing to minors in any way.
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