It may not exactly be the news adland wanted to hear, but UK gambling firms have agreed to halt all their advertising during the nation’s lockdown amid fears problem gambling is escalating during isolation.
UK’s Betting and Gaming Council (BGC) said all its members had voluntarily agreed to remove all advertising for at least the next six weeks.
BGC, which represents betting shops, online betting and gaming, bingo and casinos, said the move would result in the removal of half of all product advertising on TV and radio.
The move comes after the industry was blamed for exploiting vulnerable people during lockdown.
Earlier this month a group of 20 British MPs signed a letter calling for curbs on gambling, including a moratorium on advertising.
BGC’s chief executive Michael Dugher said: “We are determined to do everything we can to protect customers potentially at risk during this lockdown period and beyond.”
He added that all operators will “look to implement this change as rapidly as possible but no later than Thursday May 7”.
Here in Australia, following the postponement of things such as the NRL and AFL, gamblers have reportedly moved into riskier pursuits such as online casino games.
A recent Survation poll into the gambling habits of Australians during COVID-19 found that regular gamblers said they were gambling more. A quarter of those who typically bet at least once a week said they were still doing so, while 28 per cent had increased their activity, and 11 per cent said they were gambling a lot more.
The survey of 1000 gamblers also found that 41 per cent of people who bet had opened a new online account since the pandemic took hold. And more than a third of regular gamblers believed they were either spending too much on the habit, or were fast developing an addiction.
In better news, the closure of pubs in clubs in Australia has seen a dramatic fall in people – and addicts – playing the pokies.
The Alliance for Gambling Reform says more than $1 billion has been saved in poker machine losses in the past five weeks.
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