UK – The Betting and Gaming Council (BGC), the single industry association for betting and gaming, representing betting shops, online gaming businesses and casinos in the UK, has announced that its members have agreed to voluntarily remove all of its gaming product advertisements on both radio and TV during the Coronavirus pandemic.
The move is the latest in safeguarding measures as the industry looks to protect potentially vulnerable people who are currently in isolation due to the ongoing pandemic.
Michael Dugher, chief executive officer of The Betting and Gaming Council commented on the move:
“From day one of this crisis we have sought to protect customers potentially at risk, including announcing stepping up safer gambling measures as part of our ten pledges for COVID-19 in March.
This latest move by the regulated industry further underlines our commitment to safer betting and gaming with many people cut off and feeling anxious.
We have been working closely with our member companies since this crisis began to monitor the impact of betting and gaming. There hasn’t been an explosion in people betting online as some had predicted – in fact, the opposite is true with total revenue down by up to 60 per cent.
Overall gambling levels have also fallen significantly as a result of betting shops and casinos closing and the suspension of live sport. And whilst advertising levels on sports and casino are also down, again contrary to some assertions, we recognise that removing product advertising will act as a further safeguard during COVID-19.
This major announcement by our members will result in the removal of half of all product advertising on TV and radio. I hope now that other major gambling operators like the National Lottery follow our lead.
This is the latest measure introduced by BGC members in an attempt to safeguard customers during the global pandemic with the standards body recently introducing a ten pledge action plan last month which set out the standards expected of its members during these difficult times.
Throughout this crisis, as the new standards body, the BGC has worked very closely with the Government. Ministers and the regulator all deserve credit for their steadfast and consistent determination to have an evidence-led approach and to rightly call for higher standards.
There will always been alarmist noises from anti-gambling prohibitionists who just want to grab headlines, but it is this serious, constructive and evidence-led approach by the BGC’s regulated members that has resulted in this further major change.
We are determined to do everything we can to protect customers potentially at risk during this lockdown period and beyond – and we are determined to drive the high standards that the public expect from us. I hope others follow our lead.”
All operators will look to implement this change as rapidly as possible but no later than Thursday 7th May. The commitment will remain in force for 6 weeks and at a minimum until 5th June 2020. This voluntary change will apply 24 hours a day, seven days a week and will only be reviewed when lockdown restrictions are relaxed.