BGC Promises to Maintain Momentum on Player Protection

Standards body the Betting and Gaming Council (BGC) has pledged to “maintain the momentum” on protecting young people and promoting safer betting as the new football season kicks off.

The first round of matches in this season’s English Football League take place this weekend, with the Premier League beginning a week later.

To coincide with the start of the new season, the BGC is highlighting the steps its members have already taken to raise standards around betting adverts since being established in 2019.

These include the whistle-to-whistle ban on TV betting commercials from five minutes before a match begins until five minutes after it finishes, before the 9 pm watershed.

According to a study by Enders Analysis, this has led to a 97 per cent reduction in the number of such ads seen by children at those times.

The ban was also credited a fall of nearly 50 per cent in the number of betting commercials shown on ITV during Euro 2020, compared to the 2018 World Cup.

Earlier this year, the BGC introduced a code of conduct on the use of social media by football clubs.

Under the new rules, calls to action or links to gambling websites are not allowed on organic tweets on the social media feeds of football clubs. The code of conduct also bans any display of direct bonuses or odds on organic tweets which cannot be solely targeted at over-18s.

This is in addition to the updated Industry Code for Responsible Advertising, introduced last October, which is aimed at further preventing under-18s from seeing betting ads online.

BGC members must also adhere to strict advertising rules, including a ban on betting logos on children’s football kits.

Meanwhile, the regulated betting and gaming industry also provides vital financial support for football through sponsorship and advertising.

This includes £40m for the English Football League and its clubs, while Entain’s ‘Pitching In’ initiative helps to fund grassroots leagues.

Michael Dugher, chief executive of the BGC, said: “The start of the new football season is an exciting time for fans across the country.

“BGC members are proud to provide financial support in a variety of ways for the beautiful game, but it’s also important that we maintain the momentum when it comes to protecting young people from gambling harm.

“Around 30 million people in Britain – half the population – enjoy a flutter, and the vast majority do so safely. According to the Government, the rate of problem gambling is 0.5 per cent and has been stable for the past 20 years.

“But one problem gambler is one too many, so we will step up our work on protecting young people and providing help for those experiencing harm.”