New Ban Not Enough
When a new ban on gambling advertisements comes into effect in August, the ability to pull any sponsorship during live football matches before 9pm is not enough for some. Now the boss of gambling heavyweight GVC Holdings urges a complete ban on gambling advertisements during any time of the day on live broadcasts and repeated highlights.
The new ban, which was agreed last year by betting firms, is due to start at the beginning of the next season in August. The ban will mean that there will be no gambling advertisements during live football broadcasts before 9pm in the UK.
Kenny Alexander, the chief executive of GVC Holdings (which owns Ladbrokes Coral), had previously agreed with the new ban, but he says that it is not enough. He now wants a ban of advertising on all sports broadcasts (apart from horse racing) and at any time rather than merely before 9pm.
Alexander said: “I saw first-hand the damage that problem gambling can do when I visited a rehabilitation center. It can be destructive and can often leave problem gamblers with little hope. Whilst this is the minority of those that gamble, it has a real impact on them and their family and friends. This is something we need to tackle head-on, not tinkering around the edges – to minimize the impact gambling-related harm can cause.”
Giant Bookmaker Promises Significant Changes
The company will stop advertising on boards around the perimeter of the football pitch and will cancel all its shirt sponsorship deals with UK teams. This includes ending contracts with the Scottish Premiership and Premiership teams Charlton Athletic and Sunderland FC. Alexander has urged competitors to follow suit.
To further this aim, the company has agreed to commit to spending 1% of its gross revenue by 2022 on “research, education, and treatment.” They will also establish a new independent trust to make charitable contributions for treatment of problem gamblers.
GVC Wants to Lead the Way
If Alexander got his wish, all sports betting broadcast advertising would be banned completely except for horse racing. In place of these ads, there could be commercials that promote responsible and safer gambling, though limited to one per break.
GVC has called for direct competitors to join in the transformation of marketing gambling brands. The firm has announced its new campaign will be “Changing for the Bettor,” which will promote safer gambling. They will also offer safer gambling software to help customers with problem gambling habits.
Alexander said in a statement: “Whilst the vast majority of our customers enjoy our products responsibly, it is high time that the industry did more to protect its customers from potential harm. As the UK’s largest gambling company, and owner of Ladbrokes and Coral, we at GVC are doing exactly that. I call on our industry peers to help us bring about an end to broadcast advertising which promotes sports betting in the UK no matter the time of day.”
He has made a pledge that GVC will become “the most trusted and enjoyable betting operator in the world.”