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Sky's gambling ad pledge given cautious welcome by industry

Sky are to limit gambling ads to one per commercial break
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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.


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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.

William Hill chief executive Philip Bowcock
Responding to Sky's announcement, Hills' chief executive Philip Bowcock said: "We welcome this move from Sky as a recognition of the issue, but we believe there are further steps that could be taken around live sport and would welcome a dialogue with them to ensure this does not become an ongoing issue for the betting industry and the broadcasters."

Sky no longer has a stake in Sky Bet, which was bought by Canadian gaming company Stars Group earlier this year.

Sky Bet executive chairman Richard Flint
Sky Betting and Gaming's executive chairman Richard Flint said Sky's decision was a step forward, although he reiterated his view that operators adhering to high standards of player protection should be allowed to continue to advertise on TV.

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.


If you are concerned about your gambling and are worried you may have a problem, click here to find advice on how you can receive help


 



We welcome this move from Sky as a recognition of the issue, but we believe there are further steps that could be taken around live sport
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