Sky's gambling ad pledge given cautious welcome by industry
Sky's pledge to limit the number of gambling adverts it broadcasts has been given a qualified welcome from the gambling industry, albeit one which reflected the differing views on the subject within the sector.
From the start of the next Premier League season in 2019, Sky Sports will allow a maximum of one gambling advert per commercial break - down from the current four when the likes of bingo and poker are included.
The broadcaster is also planning to enable viewers to block gambling advertising when watching on the Sky and Virgin Media TV platforms from June 2020 across more than 140 channels, including Sky Sports.
Sky's UK and Ireland chief executive Stephen van Rooyen said the company had taken the action because they understood viewer concerns about gambling adverts.
He added: "Thanks to regulation TV has long been a safe space, and these changes will make it even safer. But there is still a real danger online and there will be until online platforms are regulated as tightly as TV."
Gambling advertising, especially around live sport, has become an increasingly hotly debated issue, with the Labour Party calling for a "whistle-to-whistle" ban on ads during live sport.
A number of firms have supported a pre-watershed ban of TV advertising around football and other live sports, including William Hill, although it is felt firms with a high street presence would feel less impact from a ban than online-only firms such as bet365 and Sky Bet.
Sky no longer has a stake in Sky Bet, which was bought by Canadian gaming company Stars Group earlier this year.
He added: "We do require support from the general public. We have a social licence as well as a regulatory licence and we need that to operate.
"The general public have felt, for a variety of reasons, that there are too many TV ads, so this is a step forward both in terms of protecting the vulnerable and in meeting some of that public concern and criticism."
Meanwhile, Ladbrokes and the Scottish Professional Football League have agreed that the Senet Group's "When the Fun Stops, Stop" messaging will appear on players’ shirts throughout the 2019-20 season, in addition to featuring in all match programmes, on LED boards and on interview backdrops.
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