Sky will lower the number of gambling advertisements on TV as a campaign of pre-watershed gambling ad ban is gaining strength in Britain. The rising concern over addiction and growing prominence of sports betting is the primary reason behind the decision.
The Sky TV ban will go into effect when the next Premier League season begins in August. It will how only one gambling advertising ad during each commercial break on its channels, a 75% reduction from its current numbers.
Slots during live sporting events are in high demand on Sky Sports as it could facilitate “in play” betting. Therefore, the channels end up showing up to four gambling ads per commercial break, making handsome revenues in the process.
The restrictions will apply to all Sky channels where it sells advertising slots, including the Viacom owned Channel 5. The new rules will cover all forms of gambling, including online poker and bingo. With the new rules in place, users, especially young children will be protected from the bombardment of sports betting and gambling advertising, which is being considered as an increasing threat in the UK.
On the other hand, Sky will suffer millions of pounds in annual revenue due to their self-imposed ad bans. Gambling advertising is a 200-million-pound industry and Sky likely holds over 50 percent of the market. The real impact on Sky’s revenues following the ban cannot be assessed as of now. The advertising slots are usually auctioned, and when the supply is restricted, the prices of each slot may increase substantially.
Sky has bigger plans for curbing gambling adverts. Starting 2020, Sky will introduce new technology in its set-top boxes that will allow insertion of alternative advertising. Hence, users will be able to avoid gambling adverts from TV completely. The technology will be available on Virgin media set-top boxes as well.
Interestingly, the gambling industry supports the ad ban. Ladbrokes owners have supported advert bans before 9 pm on TV. However, this move could also create an uneven playing field, giving big pocketed companies an edge over their online-only counterparts like Betfair and Bet365.
The British authorities are turning hostile to the gambling industry. It recently clamped down on the fixed-odds betting terminals. Tracey Crouch, the former sports minister, had to resign last week following a delay in plans to delay in cutting the maximum stake on FOBTs from 50 pounds to 2 pounds.