BGC Praises “Whistle to Whistle” Ad Ban As New Soccer Season Begins

  • Betting ads seen by children on television during the ban period have fallen by 97%
  • Ban helped lower the number of betting ad views by 1.7 billion in the first five months
  • The number of betting ads shown after 9pm on television have also fallen by 28%
  • BGC members introduced the “Whistle to whistle” ban on August 1, 2019
Soccer players and ball coming out of a TV
The UK’s BGC has praised the success of the “whistle to whistle” gambling advertising ban as the England’s new soccer season gets ready to kick off. [Image: Shutterstock.com]

Protecting the youth

The UK’s Betting and Gaming Council (BGC) has praised the success to date of the “whistle to whistle” gambling advertising ban as the new soccer season in England gets ready to begin. The ban stops children from seeing any betting ads on television during live sports broadcasts before 9pm.

With the new seasons of the English Football League and the Premier League kicking off, hundreds of games will be aired on popular television networks.

virtually eliminating the ability of young people to see betting adverts on TV during commercial breaks”

BGC chief executive Michael Dugher spoke about his excitement for the return of soccer, noting that there is not really an alternative to watching games on television.

Dugher said: “I’m therefore delighted by the success of the whistle to whistle ban in virtually eliminating the ability of young people to see betting adverts on TV during commercial breaks.”

The BGC tweeted out this statement: 

Success to date

With the “whistle to whistle” ban on betting ads in place since August 2019, the numbers of ads relating to betting that 4- to 17-year-olds saw on television dropped significantly. Enders Analysis combed through the relevant data, concluding that the amount of betting ads children saw during commercial breaks fell by 97%. 

The ban helped to reduce the number of betting ad views by 1.7 billion in the first five months after it was implemented. Total exposure to betting ads during live sports fell by 78% before 9pm. Analysis of the data did not find a transition of gambling ads over to sports programs in the evening, with ads after 9pm falling by 28%. 

As part of the ban, no betting ads are allowed on television during the commercial breaks five minutes before a live sporting event begins and until five minutes after it ends, unless the game is at 9pm or later. With spectators not allowed at games because of COVID-19, more and more people are watching games on television.

Improving industry standards

BGC members introduced the “whistle to whistle” ban on August 1, 2019. The trade association was set up in that year, striving to improve standards across the gambling sector, excluding the National Lottery. It helped introduce a rule that at least 20% of radio and television betting ads need to include safer gambling messages. 

There have also been new rules relating to gaming machine cooling off periods, more extensive age and ID verification checks, encouragement of deposit limits, and more funds going toward gambling addiction treatment, education, and research. 

New rules are going into effect on October 1 that aim to lower the number of betting ads that underage people come across online. Dugher has been urging the government to work closely with the BGC in order to clamp down on illegal operators who do not properly protect customers or hold themselves to a high set of standards.