The UK becomes next in the list of European countries that have begun to ban gambling advertisements during sports events. Following the acts of Spain and Italy, the UK is simply expanding the trend that has garnered discussions all over the continent.
Several countries have already implemented heavy marketing bans for the gambling sector. The move follows the continuing growth of online casino games such as video slots and betting opportunities, which have long been main sponsors in the world of sports. The UK is set to join the marketing trend later this fall.
The British “no celebrities” policy
This year, the British authorities have passed an advertising regulation which bans celebrities and reality TV stars from participating in gambling promotions. The ban also excludes all individual team names or stadiums from being used in gambling advertisements. The regulations do not touch upon team sponsorships.
The idea behind the new regulations is specifically to reduce the risk of harm to underage persons. The regulations will come into force in October, just before the soccer FIFA World Cup in Qatar, during which betting businesses tend to advertise heavily.
Hardcore precedents might’ve affected the depth of the ban
Spain and Italy are two of the countries that have already implemented heavy gambling advertisement bans in the sports sector. Italy, which made the reforms as early as 2019, banned both sponsorships and advertisements, but has since faced backlash due to the heavy economic toll on the sports teams.
Likewise, Spain, who only gave the soccer teams one season to cease and replace all gambling sponsorships, saw teams line up for La Liga with no shirt sponsor at all. The economic issues for both Italy and Spain were enhanced by the pandemic’s effect on the market.
Similar reforms proposed in Belgium met with backlash
Belgium is on track to become the next country to ban betting advertisements. Earlier this month, the Minister for Justice Vincent Van Quickenborn made the proposal that most advertisements would cease by the end of the year. For marketing in sports, the ban would not be fully implemented until the end of 2024 to allow for teams to find new sponsors as the loss is estimated to affect 12% of sponsorship incomes.
The ban would be total, meaning that it would affect all digital platforms as well as magazines, sports stadiums, posters, TV and radio. So far, the petition has been met with criticism from both the gambling market as well as other political actors, who argue that the demands are too high.
Soccer as a unique platform for gambling ads
The wave of new gambling advertisement bans in European sports comes after several studies showing the steady incline of harmful gambling behaviours. According to a 2021 study, gambling ads can be shown up to 700 times in a single soccer game. Incidentally, the largest risk groups, younger persons and persons with previous gambling problems, are also a common demographic in sports fans.
The change in marketing legislation will hopefully reduce the risk of targeting vulnerable groups. Furthermore, the ban will allow for sports marketing and sponsorships to evolve and broaden the market.