A BBC investigation into the preponderance of gambling adverts during live football broadcasts has found that 95% of all such breaks across BT Sport, Sky Sports and ITV feature at least one commercial from the sector.
An audit undertaken by the Victoria Derbyshire programme found that a fifth of all adverts broadcast during 25 selected matches promoted betting companies, a proportion which rose to a high of 40% during one game.
This occurred during a clash between Everton and Apollon Limassol broadcast By BT Sport on 28 September, when 18 separate adverts for five betting firms were counted. At the opposite end of the scale one women’s football match was found to have contained no gambling ads.
In total there were 1,324 separate commercials and sponsorship idents, of which 272 were found to be gambling related.
The findings dovetail with deliberations from the UK government as it seeks to establish whether additional restrictions are required despite protestations from the industry that their ads have ‘limited impact’ on overall gambling rates.
Gambling firms are exempt from existing rules, which ban betting ads prior to the 21:00 watershed, in the case of live sporting events. In recent years that loophole has come under increasing scrutiny with high-profile critics such as Lord Sugar calling for an end to this concession.
Last week, the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) and The Gambling Commission urged gambling sites have to remove ads that are likely to appeal to children as part of a joint clampdown.