The Betting and Gaming Council has praised the introduction of last year’s whistle-to-whistle ban on gambling advertisements during televised sports.
The ban, which was implemented in August 2019, prohibits gambling advertisements during televised sports events before 9 PM, and ads cannot be shown five minutes before the event begins until five minutes after the event finishes. However, this does not apply to horse and greyhound racing events.
According to a new study by Enders Analysis, the ban has successfully reduced the number of gambling advertisements seen by children, falling a whopping 70%. Meanwhile, Enders Analysis’ study found that the number of ads seen by children during the ban fell by 97%.
The study also discovered that in the five months the ban was in operation, it contributed to a decrease of around 1.7 billion in the viewing figures of gambling advertisements. It also led to a 28% decline in the number of ads shown after the 9 PM watershed.
Michael Dugher, the Chief Executive of the Betting and Gaming Council, said in a statement on the BGC website: “The BGC was set up to improve standards in our industry. The success of the whistle-to-whistle ban is a clear example of that commitment and I’m very pleased at how effective it has been during its first year in operation.
“In particular, it’s encouraging to see that it has effectively eliminated children’s ability to view betting adverts during live televised sport. I am determined that the BGC will lead a race to the top in terms of industry standards and we want to drive more changes in the future.”
He added: “At the same time, we urge the Government to work with us to crack down on black market operators who have no interest in safer gambling or protecting their customers and do not work to the same responsible standards as BGC members. The Review of the Gambling Act will also provide further opportunities to improve standards and we look forward to working with the Government on this.”
The ban was first introduced by members of the BGC shortly after the organisation was founded. Since then, the BGC has continued to work hard to improve standards across the gambling industry.
Some of their improvements include a requirement that around 20% of all TV and radio gambling ads include safer gambling messages, the implementation of cooling-off periods on gaming machines, the implementation of ID and age verification checks, the implementation of deposit limits, and a funding boost for the research, education, and treatment of gambling problems.
More recently, the BGC has been campaigning to reopen casinos across the United Kingdom following the nation’s COVID-19 lockdown. The UK entered lockdown earlier this year along with numerous other countries but while much of the nation reopened, casinos in England, Scotland, and Wales were forced to remain closed.
Unfortunately, the prolonged closure of casino venues has led to numerous staff cuts and site closures. Buzz Bingo has announced that it will be shutting several of its venues across the UK while Genting Casino and Grosvenor Casino have stated that they will be cutting down on staff and closing a few venues. William Hill has also confirmed that it will be closing around 100 of its branches.
Earlier this month, casinos in England were given the green-light to reopen following a two-week delay from their initial reopening date. Casinos across Scotland, meanwhile, were given the green-light to reopen today (Monday, August 24th, 2020).
Both English and Scottish casinos must implement COVID-19 prevention guidelines including a requirement for social distancing, a requirement for guests and employees to wear masks, the implementation of perplex screens, track and trace regimes, and more frequent and deeper cleaning on machines, tables, bars, and casino chips.
Casinos in Scotland and England have reopened, and this past weekend the Welsh Government announced that casinos in Wales can reopen from August 29th following months of endless campaigning from the BGC.
Welsh First Minister Mark Drakeford announced on August 21st that casino venues can reopen from August 29th after being criticised by the BGC for comparing the risk of spreading coronavirus in casinos to the risk in nightclubs.
According to Casino Beats, like with casinos in Scotland and England, the four main venues in Wales – Les Croupiers Casino in Cardiff, Grosvenor Casino in Swansea, Grosvenor G Casino in Cardiff, and the Rainbow Casino in Cardiff – all venues must implement preventional COVID-19 guidelines.
In a blog post on the BGC, the organisation praised news of the Welsh Government’s decision to reopen casinos, allowing the 300 people employed across the four casino venues to return to work.
Speaking about their reopening, BGC Chief Executive Michael Dugher said: “I warmly welcome this announcement by Mark Drakeford, which is the right move and a tremendous boost for the hundreds of men and women who work in Welsh casinos, as well as their customers.
“The Welsh Government has listened to the concerns of our members and responded to the tremendous efforts they have made to ensure they can reopen safely. It’s great news that casinos across Great Britain are now able to open their doors and make a vital contribution to the country’s economic recovery.”
All of this comes after the BGC last week warned that there are tough times ahead for the gambling industry. The BGC reflected on casino venues’ prolonged closure and suggested that the coming months are going to be crucial to their recovery and allowing venues to get back onto their feet.
Highlighting how casino’s aid in the UK’s economy, BGC’s Michael Dugher said: “This sector can plan an important part in our national economic recovery and I hope ministers will continue to work closely with the industry to provide support through this difficult time.
“In return, casinos will continue to play their part in helping to revive our city centres and nighttime economy, as well as supporting the country through the £1 billion economic contributions it makes in direct and indirect Gross Value Added.”
The BGC has also called for the UK Government to extend its furlough scheme for casino employees, although nothing yet has been confirmed.