To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment his Department has made of (a) trends in the level of betting on football, (b) the effect of in-play betting on gambling levels and (c) the adequacy of existing regulations on gambling advertising in relation to sport.
The Gambling Commission publishes Industry Statistics twice a year. These demonstrate an upward trend for remote betting on football, where gross gambling yield (GGY, the amount retained by operators after the payment of winnings but before the deduction of the costs of the operation) increased from £578 million to a little over £1 billion between 2015 and 2018. In the same period, offline betting on football fell by roughly one fifth, from £331 million to £265 million. This data can be found here: https://www.gamblingcommission.gov.uk/news-action-and-statistics/Statistics-and-research/Statistics/Industry-statistics.aspx
The Commission also tracks gambling participation rates and data for 2017 showed that football and horse racing were the most popular activities to place a bet on, with 5% of respondents having bet on football in the past four weeks, and 4% having done so for horse racing. This report also includes data on in-play betting, and found that 26% of online gamblers had made a bet in-play during the past four weeks, a figure relatively consistent with the previous years. The most recent report can be found here: https://www.gamblingcommission.gov.uk/pdf/survey-data/gambling-participation-in-2017-behaviour-awareness-and-attitudes.pdf.
Strict controls apply to the content of all gambling advertisements, including broadcast adverts and online, and adverts for gambling must not be broadcast in or around children’s TV programmes.
The Review of Gaming Machines and Social Responsibility Measures set out a package of measures to strengthen protections around advertising further. These include significantly strengthened guidance from the Committees of Advertising Practice (CAP) on protecting vulnerable people which restricted urgent calls-to-action, such as ‘bet now’ adverts, tougher sanctions for operators who breach advertising codes and a multi-million pound safer gambling advertising campaign, which will include responsible gambling messages around sports. More recently, the gambling industry has announced that it will introduce a whistle to whistle ban on adverts during sporting events. We will continue to monitor issues around advertising and consider any new evidence carefully.