Advertising Industry Prepares for £50m TV Gambling Boost
By Marianne Lambert
The advertising industry is preparing for a welcome £50 million boost to its revenues, as the 2005 Gambling Act comes into force allowing betting shops, casinos and gambling websites to advertise on television.

The move represents a major step forward for casinos in particular, who as little as ten years ago, couldn’t even list in the telephone directory. Gambling companies have recently been allowed to sponsor TV programmes without being able to claim traditional commercial slots.

However, the new adverts will be subject to heavy regulation, although the National Lottery, football pools and bingo will be exempt from the ban. The advertising guidelines state that ads must not:

• Portray, condone or encourage gambling behaviour that is socially irresponsible

• Suggest that gambling can solve financial problems

• Link gambling to seduction or sexual conquest

• Suggest that gambling is a 'rite of passage”

• Or “portray gambling in a context of toughness.”

Chris Edginton, William Hill's marketing director, said, 'My view is that yes, we will be able to advertise on television, but what we can do is not what we'd like to be able to do.'

Ladbrokes has already hired M&C Saatchi to develop its campaign ahead of September’s relaxation, although the advertising industry at large has very mixed feelings about whether or not TV advertising is a good thing.

Mr Edginton at William Hill claimed that, 'Spending £100,000 for a space in the middle of Coronation Street would be a huge waste of my marketing budget.'

However, Global Betting and Gaming Consultants calculated that the advertising spend could be as high as £250 million.

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