Most punters in the United States would prefer betting with regulated operators if given the opportunity, a survey has revealed. We take a look at the findings.
The count-down to Christmas is on, and while lawmakers all around the world are gearing up for the holidays, there’s plenty still happening when it comes to the global gambling industry.
Our weekly column looks at what’s happening in different parts of the world, comparing the various legislative processes for online and offline gambling.
If you think we have missed an important news story, send us an email at [email protected] or leave a comment at the bottom of the page.
There has been a lot happening in Australia this week with bookmakers fighting taxes, and poker machine players receiving new restrictions.
The sports betting case commenced in the US this week, while New Zealand has weighed in on the loot boxes fiasco. Brazil has also managed to delay its online gambling bill again. Find out more below.
Australian bookmakers fight back against taxes
Australian online bookmakers are lobbying the Victorian government to lower the rate of a planned point of consumption tax.
The Aussie state is the latest to consider introducing the POC tax, which the government estimates will earn it $130 million, but bookies are calling for a lower rate than 15 percent. A similar tax has already been introduced in South Australia and will come into effect in Western Australia in 2019.
Poker machine players in Tasmania will no longer be able to drink a beer while pulling the reels after the Tasmanian Liquor and Gaming Commission released its final copy of the Responsible Gambling Mandatory Code of Practice for Tasmania. The report states the commission will change the code to ban alcohol service to poker machine players during daylight hours, as well as cap EFTPOS withdrawal limits to $100, jackpots to $25,000 and cashing cheques at licensed premises.
Ladbrokes Australia lost its appeal to overturn the legal decision the company breached advertising rules. Earlier this year, the online betting site was fined $35,000, plus $50,000 in legal costs, for breaching the New South Wales Betting and Racing Regulation 2012. The betting site published ads in local newspapers and on YouTube, which the court said encouraged punters to bet. The NSW District Court upheld the previous judgement that it breached the advertising standards in place.
There’s plenty more gambling news happening in Australia, which you can check out here.
Sports betting trial commences
This week, the Supreme Court of the United States commenced the New Jersey sports betting case, which aims to repeal the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) 1992. While several justices sided with New Jersey, questioning whether the act is unconstitutional, others pointed out that it’s how federal law works. NJ Governor Chris Christie spoke outside of Court on Monday and said the state could get legalised sports betting within two weeks of a favourable decision.
Just days after the trial commenced, the International Centre for Sport Security launched a sports integrity hotline in the US and Canada. The hotline is available to athletes, sports fans, team personnel, and the general public to anonymously report suspicious behaviour. The ICSS hotline will be available 24/7, and analysts will investigate any tips or complaints, sharing information with authorities if necessary.
New Jersey residents could soon be able to play at offshore online casinos due to a new online gambling bill. Senator Raymond Lesniak introduced the bill, which removes the requirement need to have a physical presence in New Jersey. Due to his retirement, the bill only had until January 9 to pass.
UK operators warned about gambling advertising
The UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) is continuing its crackdown on online gambling operators, with Broadway Gaming the latest to face the consequences. The UK online gambling operator has to pay a £100k fine for publishing misleading bonus offers on five different websites. Broadway Gaming received a fine in 2016 for failing to communicate clear terms and conditions, which resulted in the discovery of similar incidents.
Following the fine, Minister for Sport, Tourism & Heritage, Tracey Crouch, warned industry operators to “take a hard look at what you’re producing” when promoting gambling at GambleAware’s annual Harm-Minimisation Conference. Although the government’s triennial review did not result in any new advertising restrictions (lack of evidence supporting it increases problem gambling rates), Crouch said that gambling advertising is “very unpopular” with the general public”, and operators should not “push the boundaries” when it comes to responsible marketing. She also added that it was the last chance for operators to start paying the recommended 0.1 percent revenue contribution to GambleAware.
New Zealand weighs in on loot boxes
Concerned parents in New Zealand are calling for a restriction on loot boxes in video games due to their similarities to gambling. While New Zealand’s Gambling Compliance Body is reviewing whether randomised in-app purchases meet the definition of gambling in the country, local media reports are predicting the regulator won’t end up banning them from video games. The Problem Gambling Foundation Marketing and Communications Director, Andree Froude, said that since a lot of the games are made overseas, it would be difficult to regulate, which Australia’s gambling regulators have previously said.
Court rejects online poker petition in Indian state
The Gujarat High Court has refused to legalise online poker, following a petition to have it classed as a game of skill. The petition came about after authorities raided several poker clubs in the state and prompted a court trial featuring arguments for and against legalising poker in the state. After a court delay, Justice Rajesh H. Shukla finally ruled that the game could not be legalised. He said there was not enough evidence to state that the game was not based on luck, and follows a similar ruling in the state of Telangana in November. It’s not clear how PokerStars entry into the Indian market will be affected by the ruling, but it may be limited to the state of Nagaland where online poker and rummy are legal.
Brazil’s gambling bill faces delays again
Brazil’s Constitutionality and Justice Committee (CCJ) was meant to vote on the Senate’s online gambling bill, which has faced regular delays, this week. However, several Senators entered new amendments, including the requirement gambling operators enter into partnerships with local companies, as well as a uniform 30 percent tax on all forms of gambling. While neither of the amendments passed, they delayed the vote to legalise online gambling in the country. An amendment that did pass includes a ban on slots and video bingo machines outside of land-based casinos. While the CCJ plans to vote on the revised bill next week, it could face more delays.
Report reveals Portuguese still gamble at offshore sites
A Remote Gambling Association (RGA) report has revealed that 68 percent of Portuguese online gamblers play at offshore gambling sites. The Southern European country regulated online gambling in 2015, allowing international operators to apply for licenses. While the government handed out the first online gambling licenses in 2016, many international operators are hesitant to enter the market due to the high taxes leaving limited options for Portugal’s gamblers. The RGA’s report states that the regulatory framework failed to alleviate illegal online gambling, with 38 percent of Portuguese gambling at unlicensed websites, and 30 percent gambling at both offshore sites and licenses gaming operations.
Although it’s the last month of the year, we’re still expecting plenty of gambling changes to happen before 2018. But our weekly column will keep you updated, as we take a look at gambling news and legislation in different parts of the world and compile the most important updates below. You can come back each week to find out what has been happening around the globe too.
If you think we have missed an important news story, send us an email at [email protected] or leave a comment at the bottom of the page.
This week, two gambling companies in Australia announce an exciting agreement, while lawmakers in the US prepare for SCOTUS to hear the NJ betting case. In Japan, analysts are predicting the bidding war for a license will go on for years, while China has approved tour packages to South Korea again. Find out why this is important to South Korean casinos below.
Australian gambling companies team up
Australian retail gambling conglomerate Tabcorp has announced it will supply online betting site CrownBet with racing vision via its Sky Racing channels. Under the agreement terms, CrownBet punters will be able to live stream racing content via the app or website. CrownBet also announced it agreed not to appeal the tie-up between Tabcorp and Tatts again, or impede on the merger in any way.
The Queensland government released the 33rd annual Australian Gambling Statistics this week, revealing that while Australians are betting more on sports it’s just a small percentage of the entire gambling market. According to the report, Australians spent a total of $AUD23.65 billion on gambling in the financial year 2015-16. Australians spent the most on poker machines ($12.1 billion), while casinos came in second place ($5.2 billion), betting on races via the TAB in third (A$3 billion), lotteries in fourth (A$2.1 billion) and sports betting in fifth place (A$921 million).
Meanwhile, South Australia’s Deputy Premier, John Rau, threatened to ‘name and shame’ online bookmaker operators who failed to ensure minors could not access their services. He said he received several complaints about betting sites using ads that encourage vulnerable people to open accounts.
Lawmkers prepare for US sports betting case
US lawmakers are gearing up for the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) to hear New Jersey’s sports betting case, on Monday, December 4. Former NJ governor, Chris Christie, will be present as lawyers attempt to convince the court to repeal the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act 1992. The case has received support for and against via amicus briefs, with the four major sporting leagues sporting a ban on sports betting the US. However, NBA, NHL, and MLB commissioners may be hoping the court rules in favour of the state due to a shift in public opinion. Gambling analysts have predicted at least 20 US states will have legalised sports betting if the court does repeal PASPA.
The Department of Justice (DoJ) has been petitioned to review the agency’s 2011 public legal opinion of the Wire Act, which in effect allowed individual states to regulate online gambling. The DoJ clarified that “the interstate transmissions of wire communications that do not relate to a ‘sporting event or contest’ fall outside the reach of the Wire Act.” But many US politicians want the opinion overturned, including US Senators Lindsey Graham and Dianne Feinstein. The pair is requesting a review, claiming Congress, not individual states, should determine if online casinos should be permitted.
This week the 12-member Nevada Gaming Policy Committee will review whether the state’s land-based casinos can work with the recent regulatory changes surrounding marijuana. Although the state legalised recreational marijuana, the federal government still classes the drug as an illegal substance. The state gambling regulator has recommended operators ban patrons from using marijuana on its floors, until further notice.
UK regulator says loot boxes do not count as gambling
The UK Gambling Commission released a statement confirming its position on loot boxes this week. The gambling regulator stated that it does not count buying loot boxes in video games as a form of gambling, despite the Belgian Gaming Commission stating otherwise following an investigation. The UKGC did acknowledge that the line between gambling and video gaming is becoming increasingly blurred.
Meanwhile, UK casinos have committed to donating 0.1 percent of its member’s gross gambling yield to gambling charity, GambleAware. While most casinos have already committed to paying the charity, the announcement cements the arrangement. The agreement follows the charity complaining that some operators had not been contributing to problem gambling initiatives earlier in the year.
The UK Health Lottery, which offers weekly draws and contributes to community causes, has been forced to pull a Facebook ad. The ad in question advertised that players could win up to £500,000 and was placed in a post on the social media platform earlier this year. The UK Advertising Standards Agency (ASA) investigated a complaint that the jackpot prize was much lower than advertised. The ASA upheld the complaint and warned the Health Lottery against displaying it again.
Ontario residents may be able to bet on esports soon
Betting on esports and novelty markets could soon become a reality in Ontario, Canada. The Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation recently announced it was looking for a partner to expand its online and mobile sports betting services. While OLG spokesman Tony Bitonti said it’s too early to confirm what will be on offer, he mentioned that betting on esports and novelty bets could be a possibility. The expansion would make Ontario the fifth state to offer online sports, eSports and novelty betting, alongside British Columbia, Quebec, Atlantic Canada, and Manitoba.
Operators could be fighting for a Japanese casino license for years
The latest in the on-going process of creating a Japanese casino regulatory framework includes reports that the license bidding war could go on for two years. The country’s National Diet is expected to release its gambling bill next month, with many analysts predicting two casino licenses will be up for grabs. The gambling experts believe the resorts will be in Osaka and Yokohama, and international gambling operators, Las Vegas Sands and MGM Resorts will win the licenses. Spectrum analysts, on the other hand, believe three licences could be up for grabs and the bidding war could last for several years. Once the Integrated Resort Implementation Bill is introduced, the lower and upper houses will need to agree to the measure, and then it needs to be signed into law by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
New financial rules in Turkey
The Turkish Banking Supervision Body (BDDK) is planning on imposing new restrictions on bank transfers and ATM withdrawals to combat illegal gambling and money laundering, according to local media outlets. BDDK said more than five million Turkish residents participate in illegal gambling, using money withdrawn from an ATM. The banking body said it would be monitoring those who withdrew more than their maximum daily limit, to ensure they aren’t illegally gambling. A special commission, set up by Prosecutor General’s Office, will also monitor Turkish-facing online gambling sites after the government announced a two-year campaign to crack down on all authorised gambling.
China to improve South Korea casino numbers
China has announced it will permit travel agents to accept package tours to South Korea again, provided they depart from Beijing and Shandong (other cities are expected to be added). China banned group tours after South Koreas former government approved additional missile systems, which caused casinos the latter country to suffer. Casinos in South Korea are expected to improve following the lift of the ban.
If you want to keep up with the ever-changing gambling environment, then you have come to the right place. We take a look at news, announcements and industry changes around the world regarding online and offline casino and sportsbooks. Each week we compile all of the biggest changes, like new laws or regulatory changes, as well as the latest gambling news into a weekly column, which you can access on your smartphone, tablet, laptop or desktop device.
If you think we have missed an important news story, send us an email at [email protected] or leave a comment at the bottom of the page.
This week, an American Congressman has announced that he is ready to introduce new legislation, which would veto the New Jersey sports betting case. In Belgium, the country’s gaming regulator has caused a ripple effect right around the world due to an esports investigation. And in Japan, the problem gambling bill timeline has changed once again. Find out more below.
Australia to comment on gambling advertising restrictions
The Australian public can now comment on the gambling advertising restrictions set to be introduced in 2018. Australia’s industry body for free to air television networks, Free TV, opened the consultation period this week on the new provisions, including a ban on gambling ads during live sporting events between 5 am and 8:30 pm. The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) will then need to approve the provisions.
Anti-Lottoland campaigner, Tatts, donated almost $100,000 to state and federal political parties, according to the 2015-2016 public political donations register. One Nation Senator, Pauline Hanson, received a donation of almost $2000 from Tatts, a day after she introduced a secondary amendment banning Lottoland to the Interactive Gambling Amendment Act 2016. Tatts has been campaigning to get Lottoland banned ever since it entered the market, and recently had a win when the Northern Territory Attorney General announced it could no longer accept bets on Australian lotteries.
Six issues with the UK gambling industry
The UK gambling industry is undergoing several changes regarding online casino bonuses and wagering terms. The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) revealed several concerns it has following an investigation into UK online casinos, at the 2017 Raising Standards Conference. CMA Project Director, George Lusty, said the main issues are a lack of transparency of promotional terms, withdrawals, play restrictions, free bets and publicity. The CMA will determine whether the operators have addressed these concerns next month.
A bookmaker in Northern Ireland has been arrested following an investigation into fixed odds betting terminals (FOBTs). While the machines are legal in the rest of the UK, according to the police they’re illegal in Northern Ireland. There are reportedly 600 FOBTS in the region, which have apparently been operating illegally, as FOBTS have a maximum bet limit of £100 and Northern Ireland law states that the maximum bet limit is 30p. The Public Prosecution Service will decide whether to charge the bookmaker.
US to introduce legislation vetoing NJ sports betting case
The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) released a plan which could disrupt American online casino and poker players. The plan will roll back internet neutrality, which bans Internet Service Providers (ISPs) from prioritising websites or activities, as well as blocking access to specific sites. FCC chairman, Ajit Pai, announced his deregulation agenda on Tuesday, and while it is expected to be approved next month, it has already been met with resistance from companies like Amazon, Google and Facebook. The companies believe deregulating the internet will allow telecoms to determine what content customers see. Telecoms could also forget about looking after casinos and poker rooms in states where gambling is legal, resulting in consequences for players.
US Representative Frank Pallone has said he wants to introduce new legislation, which would, in effect, make the New Jersey sports betting case redundant. Pallone said he wants to introduce the Gaming Accountability and Modernization Enhancement Act (GAME), to give individual states the right to legalise online gambling. Currently, the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) prevents all US states from legalising sports betting. While four states managed to legalise it before the act was enforced in 1992, several other states, including New Jersey, are fighting for the right to change their laws.
Along with legalising online gambling, the Pennsylvanian gambling expansion included the addition of Category 4 satellite casinos. However, 88 towns and boroughs have filed resolutions prohibiting satellite casinos from being built where they live. There are 10 available satellite casinos, which are permitted to house up to 750 slot machines and 40 table games, but it’s not clear where they will set up shop.
Belgium says loot boxes count as gambling
The Belgian Gaming Commission (BCG) has found loot boxes, like in the latest Star Wars Battlefront II game, should be classified as gambling following an investigation. The regulator said the random nature of the boxes, and the fact you are risking money for an unknown prize, counts as gambling. The Minister of Justice, Koen Geens, also weighed in on the matter, stating that money and video gaming don’t mix and that the government would be looking to ban all in-game purchases. The BCG has urged other jurisdictions to follow suit, with Hawaii looking into reviewing the release of the EA game. A French politician has also penned a letter on the matter, while an Australian state regulator has agreed with the BGC’s stance.
Germany confirms casino operators need license to operate
The Bundesverwaltungsgericht or Federal Administrative Court of Germany has confirmed online casino and poker operators can only service Germans if they have a local license. Following a judgement over two offshore online casino operators that had been accepting German players, the court stated that the ban was constitutional and in line with European law. The two casinos continued to accept German players after a lower court ruled the licensing system was disorganised. The court overturning the decision has prompted calls for a regulatory overhaul, despite the State Treaty, which has caused a considerable amount of resistance between states and EU authorities.
Vietnamese locals to enter casinos within weeks
Vietnam locals will officially be able to enter local casinos next month, after the announcement of a three-year trial at the end of 2016. A long-standing ban has been lifted and finally confirmed by government advisor to Vietnam, Augustine Ha Ton Vinh. Last month a decree was released stating that locals would be able to enter land-based casinos provided they earned a minimum of VND 10 million a month, following the announcement the country would trial the program for three years last year to attract foreign investors.
Japan to submit problem gambling bill earlier than expected
Despite earlier reports that Japanese lawmakers were postponing their problem gambling bill, the governing Liberal Democratic Party, along with Komeito, agreed to an earlier timeline. According to GGRAsia, the two parties agreed to submit the problem gambling bill by December 9. The media outlet said several members from the two parties were even aiming to pass the anti-addiction framework during the current sitting. The expedited timeline is a surprise, given Japanese media outlets reported that the legislation would unlikely be submitted this year. The Integrated Resorts Implementation Bill is still in the works and the country’s lawmakers will likely debate it next year.
WELCOME back to our weekly column which covers legislation changes, new gambling ventures, industry announcements and more. We take a look at what’s happening all around the world, as one change in one country could have impacts right around the globe. Scroll down to find out about local news, or if we haven’t featured anything this week check out what’s happening elsewhere in the world and come back next week for more.
If we missed an important change and you think we should know about it, send us an email at [email protected] or leave a comment at the bottom of the page.
This week, a Las Vegas casino company is being urged to ban OJ Simpson from visiting its venues, while lottery scams are tricking Pennsylvanian players. Across the ocean, the UK gambling industry is undergoing some changes with a potential tax increase on the cards. Additionally, the Vietnamese government has finally cleared up the requirements locals must meet to enter land-based casinos in the country. Keep reading to find out more.
Australian horse race really does stop the nation
The race that stop the nation took place this week and according to data from the Commonwealth Bank, the country really did pause for the Melbourne Cup. CommBank figures revealed that credit and debit transactions dropped by 38 percent between 2:55 pm and 3:05 pm (the race commences at 3 pm). Taxis, and the ride sharing service, Uber, also reported a drop in customers of around 37 percent between noon and 3pm. The rate of customers then shot back up by 52 percent on the same day of the previous week at 7pm.
The Queensland Labor Party has ruled against supporting a new boutique casino on Great Keppel Island, despite One Nation demanding a license. There’s two licenses up for grabs in the Australian state, with one set for Cairns. Senator Pauline Hanson said the other should go to the central Queensland location, however it is likely it will go to a Gold Coast casino instead.
Gambling not on the rise in New Zealand, despite claims
Independent Chair of the sector working party, Bruce Robertson, said gambling rates are not increasing in New Zealand, despite claims made by University of Auckland Professor, Peter Adams. Robertson said the claims are not supported by facts and added that the country has one of the lowest rates of problem gambling in the world, which includes New Zealand casino players. He added that the amount spent on gambling in NZ has not ‘increased incrementally’ as claimed, instead it has declined by 16 percent from a peak in 2004.
US state elects new Governor who supports casino expansion
Pennsylvania Lottery officials are warning players to be vigilant when it comes to scams, as several are doing the rounds via phone, email and social media. Scammers are posing as official lottery employees, and phone scams mention the lottery game MegaMillions, while Facebook scams feature US Powerball games. Lottery officials have explained that they do not reach out to people for personal information, as the scammers have been asking people to buy a prepaid debit card and requesting financial information to “pay for the taxes or fees”. Look out for phoney badge numbers, fake websites, made-up phone numbers, poorly worded emails, and prizes in foreign currencies.
OJ Simpson, who is currently on parole after being released from prison in October, is causing quite a stir in Las Vegas. As a result, the former NFL player, who was accused and acquitted of murdering his ex-wife Nicole Brown, has moved into a Las Vegas suburban home. Simpson went to jail after he was found guilty of robbing Palace Station casino resort. The casino is owned by Station Casinos, the same company which owns a casino he has been spotted at since his release. Locals are urging the American casino company to ban him, while tourists have taken the time to get photographs with the parolee.
While New Jersey’s Governor, Chris Christie, has been replaced by Democrat, Phil Murphy, a casino expansion in the state is still on the agenda. The former Goldman Sachs executive and US Ambassador to Germany defeated Lieutenant Governor, Kim Guadagno on Tuesday. The win means Atlantic City’s monopoly on gambling could come to an end.
Voters in the state of New Hampshire took to the polls on Tuesday to determine whether their communities should allow keno in pubs and clubs. Ten municipalities voted on the addition, with revenue funding kindergarten programs, and as of Wednesday morning seven are for the proposal, while three are against.
UK casino company breaches consumer regulations
Ladbrokes Coral-owned Gala Interactive, has been one of the first companies to be penalised following the new regulatory changes in the UK. The UK Gambling Commission fined Gala £2.3 million for breaching consumer protection regulations after it found the casino operator failed to identify high rollers gambling stolen money. Two high stakes online casino players gambled £1.3 million of stolen money over 14 months on Gala’s online games. An investigation by the UKGC found that Gala failed to notice the gamblers showed problem gambling behaviour, and have been fined as a result. Gala also said during a previous case they would work on identifying problem gamblers quickly, which also contributed to the hefty penalty.
Increasing the current point of consumption (POC) tax rate on gambling companies, is reportedly on the UK government’s agenda. However, CEO of Sky Betting & Gaming, Richard Flint, is urging the government to scrap any plants to increase the tax from the current 15 percent rate, stating that it could hinder investment plans. Companies based in the UK pay the POC tax, along with offshore online casinos accepting UK players. However, British companies also have to pay VAT on marketing expenditure, and Flint said if the tax is increased remaining in the country could become unsustainable.
Ghana’s Gaming Commission needs more equipment
The Minister of Interior, Ambrose Dery, has announced that the government is considering consulting international gambling regulators to help improve its own Gaming Commission. The country’s regulator has significantly reduced the rate of illegal gambling facilities in the country, but says it needs more equipment and training to continue. As a result, Dery pledged more support including a vehicle for the staff at the Kasoa office in order to support regulated sports betting companies in Ghana.
Netherland’s regulator warns operators about advertisements
The Dutch gambling regulator, Kansspelautoriteit, has slammed six licensed gambling operators for allowing their ads to appear on video gaming sites children access. Under the current law in the Netherlands, casinos and gambling operators cannot advertise to minors. If they are caught doing so, their operations will be blocked and they will face a hefty fine. Among the operators which have since removed the ads is the Dutch state lottery operator, Staatsloterij.
Spain’s online gambling industry grows
Online gambling is continuing to grow in Spain, with the third quarter results for the year revealing a 37 per cent increase in gross gaming revenues. According to the Directorate General for the Regulation of Gambling statistics report, €3300 million was gambled during the third quarter and revenue grew to €140 million. Sports betting accounted for 54.8 percent of gross gaming revenue, while slots earned the most revenue in the casino sector.
Locals can finally enter Vietnamese casinos
Vietnamese locals have finally received the green light to enter land-based casinos after the government announced a three-year pilot program at the start of the year. Locals have been unable to enter a venue due to a lack of clarity surrounding regulatory requirements. A circular has now been issued stating Vietnamese locals who can prove that they earn at least VND10 million a month, for a period of at least a year, can enter land-based casinos from December. The casinos involved in the pilot program have not been revealed, but they will have to monitor who enters the casino via electronic cards or books.
UK betting companies and broadcasters have offered to fund an £8 million problem gambling campaign in the lead-up to a review of the industry.
The government will reportedly address the increase in gambling ads in the upcoming review of the UK gaming industry, set to be published in the coming weeks.
But top betting companies are attempting to reduce the potential negative impact the review, by The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport’s (DCMS), could have with a problem gambling campaign.
Prominent gambling companies teamed up with UK broadcasters to create the awareness program, addressing problem gambling and addiction, which is set to launch in early 2018.
The Remote Gambling Association, which oversees UK online casinos, as well as the industry’s responsible gambling body the Senate Group, are both putting in cash.
The Advertising Associations and TV networks will also contribute to the £8 million campaign since the broadcasting industry relies heavily on gambling companies for revenue.
The Industry Group for Responsible Gambling (IGRG), made up of betting companies, casinos, arcade owners, and online gambling firms, will coordinate the campaign.
But Labour’s deputy leader, Tom Watson, said the timing of the campaign is worrying, given the government is mulling over tighter restrictions on betting advertising similar to the reforms the Australian government recently implemented.
“There must be no stitch-up to help the gambling industry avoid tighter restrictions on advertising,” Watson said.
“Industry-funded campaigns highlighting the risks of problem gambling are all very well, but they can’t be an alternative to regulation.”
Watson, who recently slammed football associations for allowing gambling sponsorships, believes relying on voluntary actions from the betting companies is an ineffective measure.
“The government’s review needs to look in particular at advertising that children are more likely to see, including pre-watershed gambling advertising around live sporting events, and football shirt sponsorship by betting firms,” he said.
Additionally, some sections of the industry aren’t playing ball and are refusing to contribute.
The National Casino Forum, the Bingo Association, and the trade body for arcades, Bacta, are all refusing to put money towards the campaign as they believe the plan is a poor attempt to avoid tighter advertising restrictions.
Australian problem gambling researcher, Professor Linda Hancock, told the Guardian that these campaigns “perpetuate the misnomer that safe gambling is up to individuals who need to alter their risky behaviour to avoid gambling problems”.
“Campaigns become a form of covert promotion of gambling whilst presenting as harm prevention, which they are not,” she added.
The Australian government recently passed legislation which places restrictions on gambling advertising on TV, radio and print publications. The new reforms restrict gambling ads from being aired during live sporting events before 8:30pm, which has been supported by TV networks due to a $AUD100 million package.
In the UK House of Lords debate earlier this week, British business magnate, Alan Sugar, called for similar restrictions.
“The government need to do something about stopping gambling television adverts that can be viewed by young people, the first being, although maybe not a solution, putting them after 9pm, after the watershed,” he said.
Online casinos, betting companies, and other gambling businesses have spent more than £1.4 billion on promotional material for media advertising since it was deregulated in 2012.
The industry agreed to a voluntary code, which only allows gambling ads to be aired before 9pm if they are attached to sporting events. However, the events are not required to be live, which means networks can broadcast gambling ads all day provided a sports match is on.