Copious gambling promotion criticised by UK study

Sandra Junnikkala 10 months ago
Copious gambling promotion criticised by UK study

The University of Bristol has revealed that there was a mass of gambling messaging in the UK broadcast and online media during the much-anticipated opening weekend of the English Premier League.

The study conducted in collaboration with the British network, Channel 5, analysed live televised coverage, sports news programming, sports news radio, and social media from the 11th until the 14th of August, 2023.

Forming part of the Bristol Hub for Gambling Harms Research, the study is part of an effort to investigate the effects of gambling harm and focus on advocating for greater scrutiny along with improved regulation.

The key findings

The study concluded that a staggering 10,999 gambling messages were identified and disseminated across numerous media channels during the weekend. 

Out of these, 6,966 gambling messages were recorded during live match broadcasts and 92 percent of the content from these messages was deemed as in violation of advertising regulations.

Released by major gambling brands, these messages were in violation of regulations as they weren’t clearly identifiable as advertising or promotional material.

What’s more, is that only 20.6 percent of these gambling messages included harm-reduction material, and only 18.7 percent featured age warnings indicating restriction.

Sports radio provider, TalksSport, was also named in the study for including at least one gambling advertisement in each and every commercial break.

Similarly, broadcaster Sky Sports News displayed 600 gambling messages for 2 hours on air. 

Social Media activity was also recorded with 1,902 instances of gambling advertisements featured generating 34 million impressions during the weekend alone.

Pervasive 

This study highlights in stark fashion, the highly pervasive nature of the gambling market during a premier league match, heavily penetrating the public consciousness across the nation.

More specifically this type of heavily visible media clearly has a strong influence at the highest level on the world’s most popular sport.

Researcher recommendations

In lieu of this study’s findings, the researchers suggested several changes applicable to the function of the industry. The most significant is a call for stronger regulations to protect consumers and minors from dishonest advertising practices and excessive marketing campaigns. 

Going into further detail the researchers also state that self-regulation by the gambling industry is clearly insufficient and places an onus on the government to take more action to protect its residents from such copious marketing techniques.

Current improvements seen as ineffective

Although the recent Premier League decision to ban gambling companies from front-of-shirt sponsorship in 2026 is seen as a positive step by the research hub, more action is still required to protect minors from gambling promotion. 

The researchers also levelled criticisms at the recently published gambling whitepaper for providing suggestions of a far too lenient nature with regard to strengthening regulations around marketing and sponsorships.

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