Sunday August 3,2014 : GAMBLING ADVERTISING – THE INDUSTRY NEEDS TO BE PART OF THE SOLUTION.
Trade body outlines a more collegiate and responsible strategy.
Complaints about the pervasiveness of gambling advertisements and the questionable nature of some campaigns and individual ads are becoming all too common, as evidenced by the frequent Advertising Standards Authority corrections, and the Remote Gaming Association has spoken out on the issue.
The trade body, which represents the interests of most of Britain's quality online gambling companies, holds the view that the industry needs to be part of the solution rather than be seen as the problem, and it should consequently be acting in a proactive manner to assuage concerns in the public sector and adopt a more collegiate attitude in approaching criticism and concerns.
To that end it has been engaging with the UK government and the UK Gambling Commission in exploring the best ways to address concerns around unsuitable advertising, over-exposure in retail and the societal impact of gambling advertising.
It comes at a sensitive time, as a review of national gambling advertising is currently in progress.
RGA chief Clive Hawkswood says that it is important to understand and address media, political and public perceptions on gambling as well as the reality, because both drive reactions to the industry.
And he says that knee jerk reactions rejecting unpopular perceptions are neither useful nor effective, and that the industry needs to keep an open mind, at the same time demonstrating by its conduct that it understands its responsibilities to society and gamblers, and is professionally committed to discharging its obligations in a socially responsible manner.
By failing to do so, the industry will continue to be vulnerable to attacks by detractors, and that might have commercial implications, he warns.
In related news, the William Hill plc interim report released Friday also addresses the idea of working closely with government on sensitive issues like Fixed Odds Betting Terminals and gambling advertisements.
Accepting that considerable media and political attention had been given to FOBTs and the spread of High Street betting shops, along with advertising by gambling companies, the report noted that Will Hill management has liaised closely with the government's Department of Culture, Media and Sport and the UK Gambling Commission to address the issues raised.
“We expect to implement the measures to increase scrutiny of higher stake gaming machine play in the first half of 2015, based on the Government’s plan to legislate in the autumn," Management reported.
"This is in addition to the industry’s own voluntary Code for Responsible Gambling, which was implemented by 1 March 2014.
"We believe there is value to all concerned in taking an appropriate amount of time to embed these measures and to assess their benefit, alongside reviewing the outcome of the Responsible Gambling Trust ongoing behavioural research, due to report in the autumn.”
However, the interim report also illustrated the impact of higher machine game duty imposed by the government; William Hill has shuttered 70 retail betting shops since the UK budget announced tax increases, and another 12 closures are imminent.
The company has already announced that in total it is to close 109 shops to ameliorate the financial attrition caused by the new tax.