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BGC members agree to suspend UK gambling advertising

27th April 2020 3:57 pm GMT

Members of the UK’s Betting and Gaming Council have agreed to suspend radio and TV advertising from next week for at least six weeks.

BGC members include the UK’s leading operators and account for around 50 per cent of gambling advertising on TV and radio, which will be now be suspended as quickly as possible and at the latest by 7 May.

The voluntary suspension comes despite a fall in advertising volume during the COVID-19 pandemic and an estimated 60 per cent drop in revenue for BGC members, and will see existing TV and radio advertising slots replaced by safer gambling messages, donated to charities, or removed from broadcast where contracts permit.

“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,” said BGC chief executive Michael Dugher. “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,” added Dugher.

“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.”

The voluntary advertising restrictions will only be reviewed when lockdown restrictions are relaxed.

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