The television broadcaster showed 85 ads for betting products during the Euro 2020 group stages between its flagship ITV channel and ITV4. This was down by 47.2% when compared to the 161 ads shown during the group stage of the 2018 Fifa World Cup.
Alternatively, the number of ads per match at Euro 2020 came to 3.7, while at the World Cup it was 6.9.
The Betting and Gaming Council said that this reduction was “a direct result” of its “whistle-to-whistle ban”. Under this ban, gambling ads may not be shown during live sport events broadcast before the 9pm watershed, though they may be shown more than five minutes before the match starts or after it ends.
The report comes ahead of England’s Euro 2020 semi-final against Denmark. Earlier this week, Gambling With Lives campaign The Big Step called for ITV to air no gambling ads whatsoever during their broadcast of the match, arguing that a large number of children will be watching.
Michael Dugher, chief executive of the Betting and Gaming Council, said the data shows the BGC’s commitment to raising standards in the industry.
“These figures are testament to the success of the whistle-to-whistle ban and the continued drive for higher standards introduced by the regulated industry since 2019,” said Dugher.
“At the start of the tournament, we had the same siren voices from the usual suspects in the anti-gambling lobby making dire warnings about people being ‘bombarded’ with betting ads and calling for a ban.
Dugher also referenced a recent answer from John Whittingdale, the minister in charge of gambling, to a Parliamentary question about gambling ads, saying that there was not evidence to suggest a link between these ads and problem gambling.
“I’m pleased that calls from prohibitionists to ban TV betting ads are baseless and not backed up by the evidence, with the government themselves also acknowledging that independent research ‘did not establish a causal link between exposure to advertising and the development of problem gambling’,” Dugher said.
“Nevertheless, the significant reduction in the number of betting commercials during the Euros, when compared to the last World Cup, is further proof of the commitment by our members to raising standards – while also promoting safer gambling, unlike the unsafe, unregulated black market that employs no one, pays no tax and makes no contribution to the economy or many of our much loved sports”.
The BGC also pointed to a 2020 report, which found that the number of gambling ads seen by four to 17-year-olds during live sports events fell 97% since the ban was put in place, and added that members ensure that 20% of their ads are devoted to safer gambling messaging.