How gambling ads tainted the Euros, MPs warn
How gambling ads tainted the Euros: Children ‘groomed’ by TV promotions, MPs warn
- ITV viewing figures for England’s semi-final topped 27 million including children
- Young fans were ‘bombarded’ with TV adverts for betting shops during match
- All four matches included adverts before the 9pm watershed
The European Football Championship have been ‘tainted’ by gambling giants’ adverts which are ‘grooming’ children to bet, MPs and peers have said.
Gambling companies have tried to entice fans to visit their sites, flooding social media and television with adverts.
ITV’s viewing figures for England’s semi-final topped 27 million, including millions of children, making it the most-watched football match ever for a single channel, while 31 million saw Sunday’s final across BBC and ITV.
But young fans were ‘bombarded’ with TV adverts for brands including Ladbrokes, William Hill and SkyBet, MPs said.
Gambling companies have tried to entice fans to visit their sites, flooding social media and television with adverts. Pictured: Paddy Power advert
During ITV coverage of the England versus Denmark semi-final fans were subjected to eight adverts, while in the games against Scotland and the Czech Republic viewers were hit with seven and eight gambling commercials respectively.
And in the final against Italy, fans watched three adverts during the pre-match build-up.
All four matches included adverts before the 9pm watershed when content that is ‘unsuitable or harmful’ should not be shown, according to Ofcom rules.
Three of the BBC’s favoured football pundits also appeared in the commercials. Rio Ferdinand and Robbie Savage appeared in William Hill’s ‘Sweet Caroline’ advert and Peter Crouch was in Paddy Power’s. Adverts for other firms featured footballing stars Harry Redknapp, Michael Owen, Jose Mourinho and Jamie Carragher.
Young fans were ‘bombarded’ with TV adverts for brands including Ladbrokes, William Hill and SkyBet, MPs said. Pictured: BetVictor advert
Viewers on ITV’s online streaming service were not spared either, with a total of 15 adverts shown over the four games, the Mail audit found. The research flies in the face of the betting industry’s claim that its ‘whistle to whistle’ ban has cut the amount of TV gambling adverts seen by children by 97 per cent.
It ensures none is played immediately before and after the game, or at half time – but bookmakers can still place adverts during pre-match build-up and post-match analysis.
The Mail’s Stop The Gambling Predators campaign continues to call for greater protection for addicts. MPs have demanded the Government ban betting advertising as part of its ongoing review of the UK’s gambling laws.
Tory MP Iain Duncan Smith said: ‘Too much of football has become addicted to gambling. This tournament was a chance for the game to break free. It’s now time for ministers to properly protect children and young people.’
Viewers on ITV’s online streaming service were not spared either, with a total of 15 adverts shown over the four games, the Mail audit found. Pictured: William Hill advert
Labour MP Carolyn Harris, chairman of the all-party group for gambling, said: ‘Gambling adverts groom children to think betting is a harmless pastime, and it’s not. The consequences for the hundreds of thousands of gambling addicts are absolutely devastating.’
SNP MP Ronnie Cowan said: ‘The beautiful game is being used as a Trojan horse. The ads are still there and children are being exposed to them, affecting them as they grow up.’ And Tory MP Richard Holden said: ‘Yet another major championship has been tainted by gambling advertising.’
Bookmakers unleash vast spending budgets during major championships as competition for customers and the sums they now bet becomes ever-more fierce.
Ladbrokes and Coral’s owner Entain said it expected to see twice as many fans place bets on the Euros as in the last World Cup in 2018.
The Betting and Gaming Council, which represents the industry’s biggest firms, said: ‘At least 20 per cent of our members’ TV and radio ads are safer gambling messages, while they must also adhere to strict rules on how they advertise their products.’
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