Saturday June 16, 2012 : EURO 2012 FOOTBALL CHAMPIONSHIP CREATES ADVERTISING BONANZA IN THE UK
Online gambling firms take full advantage of television advertising rules
Online gambling companies and television networks are taking full advantage of Britain's television rules to ramp up advertising around the Euro 2012 football championships currently being held in the Ukraine, the Daily Mail newspaper reported over the weekend.
Firms such as Bet365, Paddy Power, William Hill and Ladbrokes have all launched advertising campaigns, taking advantage of a decision by the previous UK Labour government to allow advertising on TV before the 9pm watershed provided it is tied to a major sports event. The rules were also changed to reclassify online bingo and casino games as ‘teleshopping’, the newspaper notes.
ITV has shown scores of adverts for bookmakers and online gambling sites during Euro 2012 – half of them at 5pm – charging up to GBP 200,000 for a 30-second slot around an England match, according to the Daily Mail.
The commercials combine celebrity, humour and promotions, with particular emphasis on the ‘bet in play’ channel, making betting via mobiles or computers during a match available on everything from the time of the first goal to the number of corners or yellow cards.
The newspaper claims that revenues for Brit online gambling firms have more than doubled since 2007 to an estimated GBP 2.2 billion this year.
"[British Prime Minister] David Cameron is under pressure to order the TV regulator Ofcom and the Advertising Standards Authority, which polices broadcasting codes, to clamp down on the adverts," the Mail reports. "The Prime Minister has already made clear that he is unhappy about using football to promote gambling.
"He recently told MPs: ‘Anyone who enjoys watching a football match will see quite aggressive advertisements on the television, and I think companies have to ask themselves whether they are behaving responsibly."
The ITV network said it did not keep a tally of the hours of gambling advertising broadcast, but said any increase was due to the numbers of games being shown during Euro 2012.
"All advertising broadcast on ITV is fully compliant with the Broadcast Committee of Advertising Practice TV advertising codes", a spokesman told the newspaper. "These codes contain rules for the advertising of gambling as well as detailed provisions for the protection of young people and the vulnerable."