BGC Members Must Remove All TV/Radio Ads During COVID-19

Members of the Betting and Gaming Council (BGC) must voluntarily delete all ads for television and radio items during the COVID-19 lockout.

The decision is the latest in the sequence of new initiatives adopted by BGC leaders to ensure punters are safe during the ongoing pandemic, following a decline in advertisement spending in addition to a 10 percent decrease in TV sport and casino advertisement levels.

BGC CEO Michael Dugher said: “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.”

Direct marketing has also fallen dramatically, although members of BGC have also increased the exposure of more reliable gambling devices. Current slots for TV and radio ads will be replaced by healthier messages for gambling, donated to charity or excluded from broadcast where contracts permit.

The decision to be checked once the new lockdown procedures are relaxed is expected to be enforced ‘no later than Thursday, May 7.’ The undertaking would remain in place for six weeks until at least June 5.

Dugher added: “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.

“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 be 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.”

The effect of ads on Day 5 of SBC’s Global Summit is expected to be debated. The Summit was established with global business communities in the midst of the COVID-19 crisis as a forum for industry to communicate and share information under crucial and unprecedented conditions.