Could TV gambling ad ban be a positive for smaller operators?

Could TV gambling ad ban be a positive for smaller operators?

Tuesday, October 11, 2016 Posted by Andy McCarron
Proposals to reduce TV advertising could level playing field

With reports in the media that the government is going to crack down on TV gambling advertising before the 9pm watershed, the industry is concerned that its ability to attract new customers will be reduced, and broadcasters are horrified that one of their growth sectors could well be reduced.

Currently bingo is allowed to be advertised before the watershed, with sports betting allowed to advertise around live sports programming, which on most sports channels is all day. 

However Richard Thorp, commercial director at FSB Technology, told that such a move would not necessarily be negative for the general make up of the betting sector.  He explained: “There’s a temptation to think this is very bad news for the industry – and it may well turn out to be the case. But may also be an opportunity.

“It probably levels the playing field for the smaller operators, or those looking to get into sports betting via partnerships with a technology company like FSB, who might not have deep enough pockets to be able to pay for peak-time television adverts.”

Thorp said that some of the more agile smaller companies with better grasp on what their customers actually want rather than those tooled with a huge marketing budget might get the opportunity to show their worth. “Operators will also need to be smarter about how they acquire and retain their customers and will need to sharpen up their act when it comes to CRM. They may also need to finally ditch some of the legacy platforms and obsolete technology that makes them so reliant on advertising.”

Thorp even suggested that some broadcasters might move into the gambling sphere: “Who knows, it may even tempt TV companies to become operators themselves to offset the loss in advertising with an alternative revenue stream. There are plenty of media companies out there who are seeing this as a viable alternative.”

Meanwhile Marc Etches, chief executive of the Responsible Gambling Trust, believes that the broadcasters themselves should be donating to the Trust if they take money from the gambling industry.

He explained: “We believe all those who profit from gambling should make contributions to fund treatment and prevention programmes for those who develop gambling problems. As gambling advertising budgets on TV and online increase, we’re encouraging sports and media companies to consider how they too can help raise awareness of the free sources of support available via GambleAware.

“We welcome the news that Government intends to broaden the scope of the triennial review. Stakes and prizes are just one element of gambling regulation. Gambling poses a risk in all its forms and there are a range of mechanisms for protecting vulnerable players that should be considered. The Responsible Gambling Trust’s mission is to help those who experience gambling related harm and anyone who is concerned about their own gambling or that of a loved one should go online to GambleAware for free advice and counselling.”

Totally Gaming says: Whether the mooted ban on pre-watershed TV advertising will also cover programme sponsorship (as was allowed before straight TV advertising) remains to be seen, but there are a lot of stakeholders outside the gambling industry who will not want overly harsh restrictions put on gambling advertising, notably the sports themselves and the broadcasters who pay through the nose for their media rights. 

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