TV ad ban could see 1 in 5 punters stop betting, poll claims

7 December 2018

One in five punters have indicated they would stop betting on live sports events should an advertising ban during sports broadcasts be agreed, new research has found.

Market research company Harris Interactive compiled a national study on Thursday (Dec 6), the day reports suggested a deal had been agreed between UK betting operators to voluntarily stop advertising during televised broadcasts of live sporting events.

The survey found that 81% of respondents agreed with the ban, although that number fell to 66% among those that regularly bet on sports online.

Of those that bet, some 23% said they would do so less if there were no gambling adverts, while 18% said they would stop doing so all together. However, the majority - 60% - said the ban would not affect their behaviour.

“Revenue for gambling companies appears likely to be impacted,” said Martin Bradley, senior associate director at Harris Interactive.

Over half of the almost 1,000 polled believe gambling shirt sponsorship (54%) and gambling advertising around pitches (53%) should also be banned. Just under half (47%) believe it should also spread to league sponsorship.

In an indication of the perceived levels of problem gambling in the UK, Harris said two out of three people surveyed believe the problem of gambling is getting worse with a similar amount saying the government should do more to regulate the gambling industry.

“The response from current online sports bettors is the same as the wider public in response to these two issues outlined above,” Bradley explained. “Even the target audience want the government to step in and do more, plus are concerned about the issue of problem gambling.”

The Harris poll was conducted to explore gambling habits, and reactions to the advertising ban during live broadcasts as well as awareness, and potential impact of sports betting behaviour. Harris also wanted to assess attitudes towards gambling companies, and the potential of further bans on betting advertising in sports.

Harris found that the news of the possible voluntary advertising ban has to some extent already improved perceptions of gambling companies, with 35% viewing it as a positive move.

“Despite support from the public, it remains to be seen whether the public believes this is enough to reduce the perceived problems that gambling creates,” Bradley said.

“We see an even split between those agreeing and those disagreeing that this will help reduce the issue of problem gambling," he continued. "We saw a very similar theme when we looked at reaction to the government review into FOBT’s; this news is welcomed to reduce problem gambling, though the public do not see this problem as going away.

“The industry needs to do more to demonstrate to the public they care about the lives of their customers.”