Gambling Operators’ Ads Among Most Aired Radio Commercials during School-Run Hours, New Research Warns

Daniel Williams

According to research that fuelled warnings about children’s exposures to promotions of online casinos, sports betting and National Lottery services, gambling operators in the UK are among the companies that are advertising the most on radio channels.

Recent data that was compiled by the market analysis firm Nielsen for the Guardian has shown that gambling ranked second in a list of industries that spend the largest amount on radio commercials in the period from 7:00 AM to 8:00 AM and from 3:00 PM to 4:00 PM. According to the results of the research, gambling services accounted for 5% of all spending during the aforementioned hours, with about 1,200 hours of ads being aired during those times over the past 12 months.

Government communications, including messages regarding the Covid-19 pandemic, and motor supplies were the segments that managed to surpass gambling ads in terms of the amount spent in order to popularise their practices or services. The actual spending figures were not announced by Nielsen because they are considered commercially sensitive data.

The research showed that many of the gambling adverts are for the products of the National Lottery, but some of the commercials aired during the school-run hours also include adverts for betting and online slot machine operators such as Gala Casino. Reportedly, the Guardian got in contact with the owner of Gala Casino, Entain, and the gambling operator has added a special condition to its media-buying arrangements not to broadcast its adverts during weekday school-run times.

Millions of Children Exposed to Gambling Advertising While Going to School

According to data provided by the UK Government, millions of children are likely to be driven to school by their parents during the above-mentioned hours, so the chances of them hearing the commercials on the radio remain pretty big. Currently, there are 8.9 million schoolchildren in the UK, and the latest survey by the Department for Transport found that almost half of the children aged from 5 to 10 (46%), and almost one-quarter of the ones aged from 11 to 16 (23%) go to school by car.

Anti-gambling campaigners and gambling addiction specialists believe that the figures only highlight the need for an ongoing review of gambling regulation by the Government and have called for the authorities to take stricter measures in terms of gambling advertising. Currently, the UK Government is expected to officially unveil the proposals for the planned overhaul of the country’s gambling laws.

According to evidence provided by the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC), 7% of children exposed to gambling promotions said such adverts encouraged them to gamble at times when they were not planning to do so.

As the Guardian reported, a spokesperson for Camelot, the operators of the National Lottery, explained that the company needed to air advertisements at all times of the day as it had to reach as many potential customers as possible. Camelot’s spokesperson, however, said that the company had also followed strict rules in order to make sure children do not find their adverts appealing.

The trade body representing the country’s gambling sector – the Betting and Gaming Council (BGC) – said that its members comply with strict rules in line with the Code of Practice of the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA). The BGC further noted that its members are also required to make sure that 20% of their radio and TV adverts are messages promoting safer gambling.

Daniel Williams

Daniel Williams

Daniel Williams has started his writing career as a freelance author at a local paper media. After working there for a couple of years and writing on various topics, he found his interest for the gambling industry.

Daniel Williams
Author: Wanda Peters