As the new English football season gets underway this evening, the Betting and Gaming Council (BGC) has pledged to ‘maintain the momentum’ on safer betting and player protection initiatives.
This will include the continuation of measures, aimed at ensuring safe betting and protecting younger audiences, such as a pre-9pm watershed whistle-to-whistle ban on TV betting advertising from five minutes before a match begins until five minutes after it finishes.
During the UEFA 2020 European Championship, a decline in betting and gaming advertisements on ITV of 47% was attributed to this ban, whilst the industry standards body has also cited a study by Enders Analysis which cited a 97% reduction in the number of commercials seen by children during fixtures.
Additionally, the BGC’s will maintain its new Code of Conduct on the use of social media by football clubs, meaning that ‘calls to action’ or links to gambling websites are not permitted in team’s organic tweets or on social media feeds.
The code also bans any display of direct bonuses or odds on organic tweets which cannot be solely targeted at the over-18 demographic.
Meanwhile, the Industry Code for Responsible Advertising will also be upheld, having been introduced in October 2020, aimed at further preventing those under the age of 18 from viewing online betting marketing.
With further regard for this, both BGC members and football clubs must ‘adhere to strict advertising rules’, including a ban on betting logos on children’s football kits.
“The start of the new football season is an exciting time for fans across the country,” said Michael Dugher, Chief Executive of the BGC.
“BGC members are proud to provide financial support in a variety of ways for the beautiful game, but it’s also important that we maintain the momentum when it comes to protecting young people from gambling harm.
“Around 30 million people in Britain – half the population – enjoy a flutter, and the vast majority do so safely. According to the Government, the rate of problem gambling is 0.5 per cent and has been stable for the past 20 years.
“But one problem gambler is one too many, so we will step up our work on protecting young people and providing help for those experiencing harm.”
In addition to confirming the continuation of its player protection and safer betting initiatives, the BGC has also reiterated its argument regarding the betting and gaming industry’s economic contribution to sports.
Betting operators currently generate over £40 million for English Football League (EFL) clubs, primarily through sponsorship arrangements, whilst the trade association has also highlighted Entain’s ‘Pitching in’ initiative, providing funds for grassroots football leagues.