When the “whistle to whistle” ban was first implemented in 2019 it was met with skepticism, due to the fact that no sporting event had faced any advertising restrictions in more than a decade.
However, the recent findings by research and analytics firm Enders Analysis have shown that the advertising limitations have dramatically reduced the number of gambling-related adverts viewed by children and at-risk youth.
Nuts and Bolts of the Ad Ban
The “whistle to whistle” ban was a simple yet impactful way to address the issue of children being exposed to casino and betting advertising when spending time with their families enjoying their favourite sporting event.
In short, you cannot view what isn’t being aired. To this end, no gambling-related advertising could be aired within 5 minutes of the start of a sporting event until 5 minutes after the final whistle.
The advertising restriction was only applied to sporting events which aired before the 9pm watershed. Horse racing and greyhound racing were also exempt from the ban as these events are considered gambling events in their own right.
High Praise For An Effective Campaign
An initiative by members of the Betting and Gaming Council, the “whistle to whistle” ban has proven to be an unmitigated success.
Michael Dugher, chief executive of the Betting and Gaming Council, said:
“The BGC was set up to improve standards in our industry. The success of the whistle to whistle ban is a clear example of that commitment and I’m very pleased at how effective it has been during its first year in operation. In particular, it’s encouraging to see that it has effectively eliminated children’s ability to view betting adverts during live televised sport. The Review of the Gambling Act will also provide further opportunities to improve standards and we look forward to working with the Government on this.”
This high praise is based on the Enders Analysis report which shows that the number of gambling adverts viewed by children under 17 years of age was cut by 97%. This represents a reduction of more than 1.7 billion views in the first 5 months of its implementation!
This has rolled into post-watershed sporting events as well with gambling advertising after 9pm dropping by a further 28%.
Fighting the Good Fight
Early concerns about the effectiveness of the advertising ban were that it did not address the issue of field-side advertising nor did it address the gambling company logos emblazoned on the jerseys of premier sports teams.
From our side of history, we have seen a massive reduction in the number of UK sports teams bedecked in gambling logos, and this tied to the reported results of the “whistle to whistle” ban can only bear positive fruits in the ongoing battle to curb underage and problem gambling among the youth of the United Kingdom.