Should There Be A Ban On Betting Advertisements On Television?

When enjoyed responsibly, gambling is a perfectly safe activity for many to enjoy. However for a minority of people gambling is dangerous, and that is why a ban on betting advertisements on television is backed by a large proportion of the public.

The charity Gambling With Lives carried out a recent survey that showed 52% of the British public support a total ban on betting TV ads. Would a ban on them have a positive effect on the public’s health? Let’s have a look at the pros and cons of such a move.

The Case For Banning Betting TV Ads

Firstly, let’s see why so many people are for a total ban on these adverts. There are a few reasons why they should be considered. These include:

Avoid exposing children to gambling ads: One of the biggest reasons that a TV ad ban is being considered is to reduce the exposure children have to gambling. While in the past children were very much kept out of gambling spaces, with the rise of online betting and gambling, it is much more widespread.

Because of this, many feel that a band on TV betting ads will help reduce that exposure, and protect children from the effects of problem gambling.

Reducing the impact on those with problem gambling issues:  While betting can easily be enjoyed by many without issue, there are some who do struggle with problem gambling. They can limit their own exposure to betting marketing, by opting into self-exclusion programs. These will limit the amount of advertising they will see online when it comes to gambling, which helps keep them safe.

However, there is no such way of protecting yourself from these adverts on TV. If somebody is trying to limit their access to gambling products, they run the risk of seeing these ads on TV which may not be safe for them. A full ban on betting ads would help them a lot in the long run.

Follow the example of sporting groups in the UK: The tide is already starting to turn on betting ads in the UK, and that’s even true when it comes to top UK sporting groups. The Premier League have already announced that all of their clubs will end shirt sponsorship by gambling companies, by the end of the 2025/26 season. A quick look at some of the biggest names in betting online as reported here will show that many now implement responsible gambling programs, including limits on when TV ads are shown.

As these groups are starting to make a move to end betting ads, it shows that public perception is shifting as well. With these moves being made to remove advertisements, removing them from TV would be a further positive step.

The Case Against Banning TV Betting Ads

While there is a range of very good arguments for banning betting TV ads, the case against banning them also needs to be considered. Are there reasons why a full ban would not be an optimal response?

Knock on effects to the economy: Something that many in the betting industry are arguing is the fact that betting serves a purpose in the economy. From 2019 to 2020, the industry profits was estimated at £14.2 billion. That’s a huge chunk of the economy that could be harmed by a ban on advertisement.

Street do argue that changes could be made to how their products are advertised, but a full ban would be actually harmful towards the UK’s economy as a whole.

TV ads aren’t as effective in the modern age: Something else to consider is the fact that TV advertising has been experiencing a slowdown in the current age. With less people watching terrestrial television, and making the move to streaming services or other entertainment adverts online, they just aren’t watching TV adverts. Because of this, TV advertisements for betting services on as effective as they were in the past.

There were to be a full ban on these adverts, there still will be adverts in many other locations that could potentially have harmful effects. This is especially true online, where regulation is a lot looser.

Potentially create a ‘black market’ betting service: Another argument to consider is that with total bans on TV advertisements, this could lead in the long term to gambling being forced underground. While this sounds rather drastic, we are seeing moves to properly regulate gambling, especially online.

Some experts feel that this is going to far, and gambling companies may instead be replaced with black market services that do not comply with current laws. If these services come about, then anyone who takes part in betting would not be protected by current legislation.

There are some very good arguments both for and against banning TV betting advertisements. While a ban is not currently on the table, there is a lot of support growing behind the idea. Only time will tell whether a band comes into play, and whether it has a negative effect on the betting industry.