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The benefits of a pre-watershed ban on gambling advertisements

The benefits of a pre-watershed ban on gambling advertisements

The impact of gambling advertisements


Gambling advertisements being banned before the watershed has been a hot topic in the news recently, with Lord Sugar leading the battle to enforce advertisement bans before the watershed. He argued that the warnings on adverts to gamble responsibly were pathetic and were just a way to “pacify an authority who maybe complained”. Australia and Belgium have recently banned pre-watershed gambling advertisements.


So, what would the benefits of a pre-watershed ban be?


It’ll help to stop gambling being normalised to children


Sure, the responsible gamblers among us really enjoy the game, but we’re not stupid – we know people can have some serious problems with gambling. Children should be able to decide their opinions on gambling when they’re old enough to actually fully understand the rules, without being infiltrated with messaging from a young age. The Gambling Commission released a harrowing report stating that 25,000 children between the ages of 11 and 16 were problem gamblers, and another study found that youngsters thought gambling adverts made betting look like an effortless way to make money. Imagine how devastating that assumption could be.  


It will be a relief for people with addiction problems


Although the pre-watershed ban isn’t a complete ban on betting advertisements, a large amount of them won’t be shown anymore – research conducted by the BBC last year found that 95% of football matches shown on TV contained at least one betting advertisement in the break. Imagine how hard that must be for a person with addiction problems, they might have only wanted to watch their favourite footy team, but now they’re feeling withdrawals because they’ve seen an advert for a game they used to be obsessed with.


It makes way for other adverts for youngsters


A survey by Populus found that 65% of 14-18-year olds (surveyed 1000) think there are too many gambling advertisements on TV, suggesting that they don’t want to be completely inundated with them in the first place but casino slots seem to be pushed into their faces.


It could stop people from getting addicted


There are many factors that lead to addiction, but being plied with constant adverts on the fun, glamorous and money-making sport of gambling can’t be healthy. We love a game as much as the next guy, but having a constant stream of adverts shown on TV will push a person to keep betting – which is a sure-fire way to get hooked. The fewer adverts there are, the less pushing there is. It wouldn’t eliminate the problem, but it would help.


There are pros and cons to having a pre-watershed ban on advertisements, but realistically, we just need to think of our friends, families or work colleagues we know who suffer from any type of addiction – would we want them to constantly have to face their demons, just to hear there’s a bottle of wine on offer or that there’s a free £50 to play online? Plus, the ones of us who love a good casino game, and don’t have a problem or are grossly underage, know exactly where to go to play – we don’t need a ridiculous amount of TV advertisements to tell us where the fun is.