Study Finds Sports Betting Ads Constant in UK Football

Ads for sports betting firms are ubiquitous throughout telecasts of British soccer games, a study by the BBC has found. The study looked at 25 televised soccer matches and found 95 percent of them contained ads for sports betting. The study found that one out of every five ads during the broadcasts has been for betting firms, and at times the ratio often rose to one in three.

A study by the British Broadcasting Company has found that sports betting ads are a constant on live broadcasts of UK soccer matches, sometime rising to one out of every three ads shown.

The study was conducted by the BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire program and examined 25 matches involving British teams shown over the previous twelve months on ITV, Sky Sport and BT Sport. The review found that 95 percent of the broadcasts had contained commercials for sports betting.

Breaking down the numbers, of the 1,324 commercials and sponsorship indents broadcast in the games, 272 had been for sports betting. On average, that’s about one in five commercials, but at times the rate rose to one in three.

The rate could go even higher, the network said. At a 2016 match men’s national team match between Scotland and Slovakia, about 37 percent of ads contained betting-related messages from eight distinct providers. In September, a UEFA Europa League group stage contest involving Everton and Apollon Limassol saw 40 percent of ads shown relating to sports betting.

The BBC report also quoted several problem gambling advocacy groups who want to see tightened restrictions on sports betting advertisements.

Matt Zarb-Cousin from the Campaign for Fairer Gambling told the BBC that he was ‘concerned’ about the impact of the ads on ‘children and young people’ due to the ‘pre-watershed exemption for live sporting events’.

“The government has an opportunity to address this in the forthcoming review,” Zarb-Cousin told the BBC.

The review comes as the country awaits a regulatory report on gambling in the UK which could include recommendations for new gambling advertising restrictions. The report noted that Australia and Belgium both recently banned all gambling advertisements during live broadcasts of sporting events.

The review is also expected to recommend deep cuts to maximum bet allowed on fixed-odds betting terminals, which has been another issue generating deep debate. The current betting limit is £100, but gambling advocates want it cut to as little as £2.