Euro 2020 and advertising has been front and centre this week, with the Big Step calling for a ban on gambling advertising ahead of England’s semi-final with Denmark on Wednesday.
Writing to ITV, who were broadcasting the fixture, they stated: “We have been disappointed to see gambling advertising during ITV’s coverage of the European Championships. The promotion of addictive products will undoubtedly have caused gambling-related harms and as a charity supporting bereaved families, we know all too well the devastating damage that gambling can cause every day. We can only hope that ITV changes its position on this to prevent further suffering for many families up and down the country.
“Despite the incessant promotion of gambling, England’s progress in the tournament has brought the country together. Like everybody, we are looking forward to seeing the team take on Denmark on Wednesday night, which is to be broadcast on ITV.”
Despite these concerns, it was revealed later in the week that there had been 47% fewer betting adverts during the Euro 2020 group stages than there were during the same stage of the World Cup in 2018.
According to ITV figures, 85 betting ads appeared on ITV and ITV4, down from 161 in 2018. For comparison, this means there were 3.7 ads per live match in 2021, compared to 6.9 three years ago. This is in part explained due to the Betting and Gaming Council’s whistle-to-whistle advertising ban, which was introduced in 2019.
The Chief Executive of the BGC, Michael Dugher, said: “These figures are testament to the success of the whistle-to-whistle ban and the continued drive for higher standards introduced by the regulated industry since 2019.
“At the start of the tournament, we had the same siren voices from the usual suspects in the anti-gambling lobby making dire warnings about people being ‘bombarded’ with betting ads and calling for a ban.
“I’m pleased that calls from prohibitionists to ban TV betting ads are baseless and not backed up by the evidence, with the Government themselves also acknowledging that independent research ‘did not establish a causal link between exposure to advertising and the development of problem gambling’.
“Nevertheless, the significant reduction in the number of betting commercials during the Euros, when compared to the last World Cup, is further proof of the commitment by our members to raising standards – while also promoting safer gambling, unlike the unsafe, unregulated black market that employs no one, pays no tax and makes no contribution to the economy or many of our much-loved sports”.
Betting and Gaming Council
Earlier in the week, the BGC called on the UK Government to establish a Gambling Ombudsman who could help deal with customer complaints. Dugher stated that this highlighted a desire from the industry to increase standards, saying it would make the complaint procedure more consistent.
Dugher said: “This is further evidence of the BGC’s determination to drive up standards in the regulated betting and gaming industry.
“We hope that the Government will look favourably on our calls for a Gambling Ombudsman to be established as soon as possible following the conclusion of the Gambling Review, which we strongly support.
“The BGC and its members recognise the need for further change in our industry and a new Gambling Ombudsman would be a step forward in customer redress – I’m proud to be giving it our backing.”
In the middle of the week, LeoVegas announced that eCOGRA – the eCommerce Online Gaming Regulation and Assurance – had reviewed their responsible gaming and customer protection measures, with it being determined that LeoVegas adheres to the EU’s protection regulations (2014/478/EU).
Over Spring, independent testing agency eCOGRA conducted tests and interviews to ensure LeoVegas’ gaming services conform to the relevant European Commission’s recommendations on player protection in relation to online gambling services, as well as preventing minors from gambling online.
On the result, Group CEO of LeoVegas, Gustaf Hagman, said: “Offering a safe and secure gaming experience and preventing minors from online gambling has always been our top priority.
“It is therefore reassuring that LeoVegas’ work in this area has now been assessed and reviewed by an external, independent party that confirms that we are in conformity with the Commission’s recommendations. But our work doesn’t end here; we will continue the need to develop and raise the bar within the entire industry to ensure that gaming remains an exciting and safe form of entertainment.”
AI and Sustainable Gambling
Finally, there was another fascinating long read in iGamingFuture this week as Rasmus Kjærgaard, the CEO of Mindway AI, discussed how sustainable gaming has transformed over the years. Definitely worth some Friday lunchtime digestion.