In recent years, as coverage of live sports proliferated, so too did gambling advertising, raising concerns about exposure of under 18s. From 1 August 2019, in what is commonly referred to as the ‘whistle-to-whistle’ ban, we voluntarily stopped advertising on TV before the 9pm watershed, reducing exposure of under 18s by 97% .
Reducing exposure of gambling to under 18s is important, and this was an effective move by the industry. Going further, in the UK, we used our brand and marketing to promote safer gambling behaviours, including the use of deposit limits, which has significantly increased in 2019. This started with the Anthony Joshua campaign in spring, which was embedded in our ‘Brotherhood’ brand proposition in September and culminated in a month-long safer gambling campaign in November, dovetailed around the UK’s third annual Responsible Gambling Week.
In November, we ran a month-long safer gambling customer campaign, dovetailing the ‘Brotherhood’ messages with the third annual Responsible Gambling Week and reprising Anthony Joshua’s ‘Control is everything’ messages in the run-up to regaining his titles in December. Our other ambassadors also got involved, including Robbie Savage and Sir AP McCoy, and we invested in a suite of messages across our digital marketing channels, including doubling the volume of safer gambling messages on our social media channels during the month.
Customers responded very positively to this content, with the new tone of voice resonating well and coming across as relevant and easy to understand. In a customer survey, 83% had good awareness of the safer gambling tools that are available to help them stay in control.
We, along with other members of the BGC, also agreed to a temporary cessation of gaming advertising during the COVID-19 lockdown in the UK.