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Betting firms agree to advert ban during live sport

Whilst young adults continue to be the most sought-after audience for many businesses to target, the news of the recent ‘Whistle to Whistle’ ban on gambling advertising should increase access to this audience. Gambling firms currently pay a premium of up to ten times the going rate to access this content, with deals agreed at auction ahead of each football season. However, this change will see almost a quarter of inventory become available, likely at a much lower cost, though it is yet to be known how broadcasters will react to this loss in revenue.

Gambling firms voluntarily agreed to the ban, which will see all gambling related ads banned 5 minutes before and after all pre-watershed live sporting events (excluding horse racing and greyhounds), coming into place in August 2019.

This has come as a result of recent concerns around the frequency of ads within such content and the potential excessive exposure to children watching live sport.

Statistics around live football matches highlight just how heavily gambling advertisers target this content
• On average, 20% – 25% of impacts delivered during live football on Sky are gambling ads
• Whilst on BT Sport this is slightly lower at 10% – 15%
• Over 90 minutes of gambling adverts were aired during the World Cup on ITV
• Circa 25% of impacts delivered during live sports programming are against 16-34 adults

All Response Media viewpoint
There are some interesting implications from this, most notably the ban will free up a significant proportion of inventory during live sport for other advertisers who rely on younger audiences. But at what cost will this inventory be accessible?

There will no doubt be a reaction from broadcasters, with reports suggesting they had shown more resistance to news of the ban than the gambling firms. After losing a significant share of their revenue alongside seeing a decline in impacts in recent months, it will be interesting to see just how Sky reacts to the ban. It would be no surprise to see other advertisers suffer as a result, with the most obvious being an increased premium to access this content to compensate for the loss of revenue.

This ban is just another step taken towards regulating the gambling industry, with growing concerns about the number of problem gamblers in the UK. The thinking is that this will be just one of many steps planned for 2019 in order to further restrict gambling firms’ access to advertising platforms.

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