Number of ITV betting ads during Euros halved compared to World Cup

The number of TV betting adverts shown during ITV’s coverage of the European Championships has reduced by almost half when compared to the World Cup in 2018, according to newly released figures. 

Figures released by the broadcaster revealed that a total of 85 betting ads appeared on ITV and ITV4 during the Euro 2020 group stages – a 47 per cent decrease from the 161 shown on the same channels during the group stages at the last World Cup.

According to ITV, that works out at 3.7 ads per live match at this year’s tournament, compared to 6.9 in 2018.

The Betting and Gaming Council has noted that the latest figures are a direct result of the whistle-to-whistle ban introduced by its members in 2019. 

Michael Dugher, chief executive of the Betting and Gaming Council, said: “These figures are testament to the success of the whistle-to-whistle ban and the continued drive for higher standards introduced by the regulated industry since 2019.

“At the start of the tournament, we had the same siren voices from the usual suspects in the anti-gambling lobby making dire warnings about people being ‘bombarded’ with betting ads and calling for a ban.

“I’m pleased that calls from prohibitionists to ban TV betting ads are baseless and not backed up by the evidence, with the Government themselves also acknowledging that independent research ‘did not establish a causal link between exposure to advertising and the development of problem gambling’.

“Nevertheless, the significant reduction in the number of betting commercials during the Euros, when compared to the last World Cup, is further proof of the commitment by our members to raising standards – while also promoting safer gambling, unlike the unsafe, unregulated black market that employs no one, pays no tax and makes no contribution to the economy or many of our much loved sports”. 

Under the ban, TV betting commercials cannot be shown from five minutes before a match kicks off until five minutes after it ends, before the 9pm watershed.

A report last year found that the ban had led to a 97 per cent reduction in the number of such ads seen by children at that time. BGC members already pledged that 20 per cent of their TV and radio ads are safer gambling messages.

According to a report by Ernst and Young, BGC members support 119,000 jobs, generate £4.5bn in tax for the Treasury, and contribute £7.7bn in gross value added for the UK economy. 

They also provide £350m a year for horse racing through sponsorship, media rights and the betting levy, £40m for clubs in the English Football League and millions more for rugby league, snooker and darts.

The latest figures from ITV follow calls from The Big Step to suspend gambling advertisements during its coverage of England versus Denmark.

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