A newly-proposed whistle-to-whistle ban has been seen as a step forward in clamping down on the spreading of gambling among underage individuals as well as exposing risk groups. However, Sky CEO Stephen van Rooyen has disagreed, prompting ASA to step in.
Sky Criticizes TV Ads Ban as Inefficient
Just recently, the whistle-to-whistle TV ban has been agreed-upon, the Remote Gambling Association (RGA) confirmed, with the news cited by multiple sources. While the RGA denied a report published by the BBC that an agreement had been struck, soon after the association confirmed the news.
Many welcomed this as a move which would effectively bring down the numbers of people at risk exposed to gambling and sports betting advertisement, but one person to not have been happy with the measures is Sky CEO Stephen van Rooyen, for reasons that hardly concern the business of the company.
Mr. Van Rooyen has since argued that the measures are insufficient to cater to the specific needs of people who are exposed to gambling adverts, citing evidence that only 17% of all advertisement is done via television and the majority of operators have shifted online where they can reach new audiences.
Online advertisement, Mr. van Rooyen argued, dispenses with the need of tight regulation whereby an ad must be cleared before it's published. He referred to the online space as "highly unregulated" and therefore a more serious conduit of gambling ads.
ASA Responds to van Rooyen’s Comments
The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), the body that oversees advertisement in the United Kingdom, has spoken out, arguing that Mr. Van Rooyen’s claims were not entirely accurate.
According to ASA, specific action has been taken to address online advertisement in particular, citing both codes that mandate online and offline regulation, i.e. CAP and BCAP. An ASA spokesperson reaffirmed that both online and TV advertisement are the subject of the same level of control and oversight.
Gambling advertisers are required to target their ads away from children online and we have previously ruled against advertisers that break the rules – ASA spokesperson cited by iGaming Business
ASA has obligated companies to target their online advertisement very carefully lest it affects children. Along with actively overseeing the activity, ASA has published new guidelines designed to tell operators how they can create ads that don’t lead to gambling harm or addiction.
Along with the good tone, though, the association has been issuing a number of fines, showing that it’s prepared to deal with wrongdoers on the spot. ASA fined William Hill, which was found to run its ads on a mobile app used primarily by children.
William Hill argued that it offers was modelled after Google’s policy, but ASA upheld its ruling, signalling that it would not tolerate any coloring around the legal lines. More operators, including M88.com and Fun88.co.uk, have also come under the hits of ASA for failing to comply with the established guidelines.
Meanwhile, Mr. van Rooney continues to fear that the further regulation of TV advertisement will simply lead to a major shift towards the online sector.