Betting and Gaming Council announce full advertising ban during COVID-19

Josh Peachey's picture

Members of the Betting and Gaming Council (BGC) have announced that they will voluntarily remove all TV and radio product advertising during the COVID-19 lockdown

Addiction experts have described the move as "an unprecedented step in unprecedented times".

The announcement is the latest in the series of measures taken as part of the BGC's 'Ten Pledges for COVID-19' campaign revealed in March. 

The removal of all product advertising during the Coronavirus crisis is to ensure that punters are protected during the pandemic, despite a drop in advertising spend in addition to a 10% drop in the volume of TV sport and casino advertisements.

BGC Chief Executive Michael Dugher calls for others to do the same, stating; "I hope now that other major gambling operators like the National Lottery follow our lead."  

Current betting and gaming advertising slots will be replaced by safer gambling messages, donated to charities or removed completely from scheduled broadcast where possible. 

Dugher also said: “From day one of this crisis we have sought to protect customers potentially at risk, including announcing stepping up safer gambling measures as part of our ten pledges for COVID-19 in March. This latest move by the regulated industry further underlines our commitment to safer betting and gaming with many people cut off and feeling anxious."

Changes will be made 'no later than Thursday 7th May' and will last until at least 5th June.

Betting and gaming addiction treatment experts at UKAT have mixed feelings about today's announcement by the BGC. 

Eytan Alexander, Managing Director of UKAT and a former gambling addict, said that the "announcement is without a doubt a welcomed unprecedented step in these unprecedented times. But what I can't get my head around is how the BGC will be able to justify switching the adverts back on once the country enters its recovery journey from the Coronavirus crisis."

He added: "Those most vulnerable and susceptible to betting and gaming adverts right now will still be susceptible to them once this is all over. Those vulnerable may turn to betting and gaming as a coping strategy now, and again in 12 months time for something else that is happening in their lives. 

"But, without added encouragement to do so, they might not take that step now, and they might not in 12 months time. Unless the adverts are switched back on again."