Advertising is the heart of commerce and huge amounts are spent by corporations trying to promote their products, regardless of their nature. Online gambling is a big industry and not surprisingly, bookmakers, casinos and poker rooms use marketing as an effective tool to make themselves more visible. The Internet is an effective platform to promote oneself, but sports books are also interested in promoting their business on television. After all, this is where the vast majority of punters watch the matches, so it makes perfect sense to advertise sports betting services. In many European countries and especially in the UK, the authorities have imposed restrictions to TV gambling advertisements and some even consider a ban.
Why are TV gambling ads under fire?
Lawmakers are concerned that the advertising campaigns on TV can have a negative effect on vulnerable individuals. Bookmakers try to get the message across and attract prospective players, while also targeting people that already have accounts at other sports books. Popular sports however are watched by people from all walks of life and many of them are underage. The UK GC strictly prohibits operators from accepting minors, but the TV ads are viewed by anyone watching the games.
There is growing concern for UK brands like Conquer Casino about the negative effects of aggressive advertising campaigns and lawmakers have started to pay attention. The online gambling industry has always been one of the easiest targets for legislators, especially around elections. For the time being, bookmakers have agreed to voluntarily stop advertising their services during live sports events. Legislators are not only satisfied by the situation and many feel that a special law is needed to address this problem.
The future of TV gambling ads is bleak
Prosperous industries have a strong lobby and they are capable of promoting their agenda far longer than expected. The online gaming industry falls into this category, but it is also the preferred target for many lawmakers and pressure is mounting. Smoking used to be celebrated in movies as well as TV ads for so long that the very idea of banning these advertisements sounded laughable. Today it is hard to find any developed countries that still advertise cigarettes on television, so radical changes are still possible.
As more people demand the end of TV gambling ads, small steps are being made in this direction. This doesn’t mean that these marketing campaigns will end abruptly, but the odds are definitely stacked against the industry. A concerted effort from lawmakers, industry watchdogs and regulators is taking its toll and online casinos and bookmakers have a hard time fighting back. The public is very sensitive when it comes to underage gaming and highly susceptible to moral panic induced by the idea that gambling operators prey on the most vulnerable people. The bottom line is that even though the end of TV gambling advertisements isn’t just around the corner, the end is nigh.