A group of around 60 MPs and advocates have called for a ban on gambling ads during this year’s UEFA European Football Championship.
In calling for the ban, the MPs and advocates have joined the Big Step campaign led by charity Gambling With Lives. The campaign has urged all major broadcasters, including ITV and TalkSPORT, to suspend gambling advertisements during their coverage of the competition.
According to SBCNews, a letter sent to broadcasters and media outlets was signed by several MPs, including Chair and Vice-Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Gambling-Related Harm (GRH APPG) Carolyn Harris and Ronnie Cowan, as well as Paul Blomfield, Mark Menzies, and Stuart McDonald.
In addition, Louisa Mason, the Senior Policy and Communications Executive at the Gambling Health Alliance, and Christina Marriot, the Royal Society for Public Health CEO, have also signed the Big Step’s letter.
It reads: “The tournament has been a long time coming and after a tough time for the country, fans should be able to enjoy it without being on the end of gambling advertising, especially given the pressures of the pandemic.
“Whilst we support adults’ right to bet should they wish, gambling advertising has no public health benefit and contributes to harm, yet it is nearly impossible to watch or listen to football without being exposed to it.”
It continues: “Promoting gambling, including products with addiction rates of up to 50%, is a huge contradiction to the good work that football does, and we are concerned that this normalisation is creating a generation of young fans who think they have to bet to watch or listen to a game.”
According to the Big Step, during the 2018 World Cup, 72 gambling adverts were broadcast on terrestrial television, with 62 out of 66 ad breaks featuring a gambling advertisement. Many of the gambling advertisements aired before the 9 PM watershed, which means they were viewed by children.
To raise awareness and promote their call for an end to gambling advertising, the Big Step has organised a walk from Scotland to Wembley Stadium, ahead of England’s match against Scotland. The walk will take place on June 4th and the campaign aims to complete its 300-mile trek to Wembley by June 13th, while visiting football clubs along the way.
The news comes after the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Gambling-Related Harm issued a letter to UK broadcasters like ITV and Channel 5, urging them to end gambling sponsorships of daytime television programmes like Neighbours.
It also comes in the midst of the UK Government’s review of the Gambling Act 2005, under which football gambling sponsorships may be banned. Recent reports, meanwhile, have claimed that the review will look into reforming the UK Gambling Commission’s duties rather than implementing additional affordability checks.
Also this week, leading game developer Pragmatic Play has strengthened its partnership with European casino operator Kaizen Gaming to enhance its player reach in European and South American countries such as Portugal, Greece, Germany, Romania, Cyprus, and Brazil.
Under the extended partnership, Pragmatic Play will launch its live casino content with Kaizen Gaming brands Betano and Stoiximan. The content made available will include Mega Wheel, One Blackjack, and numerous other titles too.
What’s more, Pragmatic Play will supply Stoiximan with its entire catalogue of video slots through direct integration, allowing the casino’s customers to enjoy the developer’s Drops And Wins promotions.
Lena Yasir, the Vice President of Malta Operations at Pragmatic Play, said in a statement: “We’re very pleased to partner with one of Europe’s leading operators in Kaizen, as we take two verticals live across two leading brands.
“It’s a real testament to the strength of our offering that we can expand partnerships so quickly and smoothly, and we look forward to working together for a long time.”
Dimokratis Papadimos, the RNG Casino Manager at Kaizen Gaming, said: “Pragmatic Play’s slot offering has performed well for us, so we’re delighted to not only take their games via direct integration, but also add its outstanding Live Casino offering.
“Providing an optimum experience to those who trust us for their entertainment is a key objective for our customer-centric approach and collaboration with Pragmatic Play is proven to be instrumental on this one. We can’t wait to enjoy a fruitful relationship for many years to come.”
Christos Mavridis, the Live Casino Manager at Kaizen, added: “Pragmatic Play’s Live Casino portfolio adds incredible value with its thrilling content and dedication to creating amazing iGaming experiences, so we’re delighted to add that for our customers.”
The above news comes days after Pragmatic Play struck a similar content agreement with Brazilian casino operator Jogos da Sorte. Under this agreement, Pragmatic Play’s video slots, live casino titles, and its virtual sports games have all been made available with the operator.
Content available through the agreement include slots such as the John Hunter series, the developer’s growing MegaWays series, and its latest release The Amazing Money Machine. Live content such as Roulette, Baccarat, and its popular game show titles, as well as Pragmatic Play’s growing virtual sports games, have also been made available with the website.
Victor Arias, the Vice President of Latin American Operations at Pragmatic Play, said in a statement: “Brazil is one of the most exciting iGaming markets in not just Latin America, but the entire world and we’re delighted to partner with Jogos de Sorte.
“It is very exciting to keep growing our operator base in such country, and we’re very happy with the momentum we’ve generated.”
Henrique Bergoc, the CEO at Jogos da Sorte, added: “We’re always on the lookout for innovative and exciting content for our casino and are delighted to partner with Pragmatic Play, which has a comprehensive multi-product offering.”