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TV Sports Rights Contracts to Suffer if Gambling Ads Banned, Warn UK Broadcasters

UK Gambling

Broadcasters in the UK have warned that the value of TV sports rights contract will slump if the ban on gambling advertising is introduced. A news report in the Times carried the warnings last week, suggesting a hard blow on the sports rights.

Note that the Remote Gambling Association (RGA) reportedly agreed on an advertising ban last week. The umbrella organization representing the biggest betting firms in the country allegedly affirmed to remove gambling advertising from the live televised sport. The reports were denied by the regulatory affairs manager of the RGA, Stella Dalton.

The Times also reported that the Industry Group for Responsible Gambling is set to meet next week to decide the advertising ban plan.

The British broadcasters are not in favor of the ban proposal and are actively lobbying against the same to protect their income. Gambling advertising is an important part of their business models, and a ban would mean a significant decrease in revenue. The biggest players in the markets, BT Sport and Sky Sports have sponsorship agreements from the bookmakers to cover the English Premier League. Even the English Football League (EFL) representing the lower tiers of the game are sponsored by SkyBet.

The new domestic TV deals for the Premier League is worth almost 5 billion pounds ($6.4 billion), while the EFL deals clock in 595 million pounds ($757 million). The deals have already been agreed upon so there will not be any downturns for the broadcasters until the next season when upcoming contracts will be drafted.

Chief executive of SKY UK & Ireland Stephen van Rooyen said that a ban on TV advertising would present a limited initiative from the gambling sector. He cited a report from Gamble Aware which suggests that the industry spends 5x of its TV advertising budget on social media promotions. He also said that if the industry was serious about handling the issue, it would address the “inconvenient truth” over online spending.

He further noted that the social media spends of gambling companies have increased three-fold over the past three years, adding that his views do not represent those of a broadcaster afraid of losing his revenue. The broadcaster voluntarily limited gambling adverts to one per commercial break last month. TV advertising, he said, is highly regulated but online ads are not.

About 430,000 Britons are classified as problem gamblers according to a new report from the Gambling Commission.

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