Sky chief executive Stephen van Rooyen has taken aim at plans by the Remote Gambling Association (RGA) to implement a ‘whistle to whistle’ advertising ban during live sports, by pointing out that gambling firms splash out five times as much online as they do via TV.
He voiced concern that this approach will further elevate the importance of the largely unregulated digital domain, opening up a widening gulf with the tightly controlled broadcast sector and moving further from a truly level playing field.
As a result it is thought likely that marketing spend will simply be diverted from television to online outlets.
Writing in The Times, Rooyen said: “You could be forgiven for thinking that this sounds a reasonable plan. The truth is, the facts paint a very different picture. What the RGA has failed to address is the inconvenient truth that over 80 per cent of the gambling industry’s advertising is in the largely unregulated online world.
“If the RGA and gambling companies are serious about protecting vulnerable gamblers, then they should start by looking at where they spend the most money, what has the least level of regulation and where there is most evidence of harm: the online world.”
Last month Sky agreed to voluntarily limit gambling ads to one per commercial break and enabled AdSmart technology to enable viewers to block gambling messages if they wished.
Analysis by GambleAware indicates that 80% of all gambling marketing spend is now allocated to the online sector.