Sky TV to Limit Gambling Ads to One Per Commercial Break

Sky TV to Limit Gambling Ads to One Per Commercial Break

Broadcast giants Sky have confirmed that, as of August 2019, they will significantly reduce the number of gambling adverts aired on their channels.

Sky intend to restrict the number to just one per commercial break and will apply the rule to all channels for which it sells advertising, including their own array of sports channels.

The internal policy shake-up was announced during Responsible Gambling Week , a campaign led by the industry to drive awareness of the dangers of gambling, but will not be implemented until the beginning of next season’s Premier League campaign.

As things stand, live sports broadcasts in Britain typically have up to four gambling ads during commercial breaks, with in-play betting odds heavily promoted during interval periods such as half-time in football and rugby matches.

Outside of live sports broadcasts, gambling adverts are not permitted on UK television before 9pm, and deputy Labour leader and shadow culture secretary Tom Watson is holding out for a full ban on televised betting ads.

"The reality is that in-game ads and ads during breaks in live sports can lead to dangerous betting behaviour or relapses for those who are trying to beat addiction," he said.

"That’s why Labour remains committed to a full whistle-to-whistle ban on gambling adverts before, during and after live sports fixtures."

New Policy Relates to All Forms

Although aligned with next year’s football season, Sky’s new policy will relate not just to sport but all forms of gambling, including online casino, bingo and poker.

Sky UK and Ireland CEO Stephen van Rooyen has said the decision is designed to protect their customers who are vulnerable to problem gambling, despite the move likely having an adverse affect on their revenue.

He said: "Our customers are worried about gambling ads on TV – and we understand their concerns. That’s why we’ve committed to limiting the amount of gambling ads on Sky and better protecting those vulnerable to problem gambling."

Legislation prohibiting gambling ads on UK television was lifted in 2007 and the industry has gone from strength to strength ever since.

According to the Gambling Commission, the UK industry regulator, gross gambling yield – which is the calculation of stakes wagered minus winnings paid out – was £13.9billion in 2017.

Growing Pressure On Government

The booming industry has helped generate a significant amount of tax money for the British government to utilise, but there’s growing pressure to further safeguard vulnerable members of society.

Last week, UK Sports Minister Tracey Crouch resigned from her position in protest at her government’s decision to wait until October 2019 to implement a £2 maximum stake on Fixed Odds Betting Terminals (FOBT).

Having initially earmarked April 2019 for the planned implementation of the new maximum stake, to be reduced dramatically to £2 from £100, the proposal was pushed back six months so as to avoid missing out on tax revenue.

To make up for the expected loss in taxes on the FOBT stakes, the government will increase Remote Gaming Duty to 21%, but has given the offshore gambling companies affected until October 2019 to prepare for the 6% rise.

The new FOBT maximum stake is to run concurrently with this revised levy, which Crouch deemed an “unjustifiable” move, prompting her resignation. She has since been replaced by Mims Davies.