Gambling brands agree voluntary live sports ad ban

'Whistle-to-whistle' blackout likely to come into force in 2019.

Several high-profile gambling brands have voluntarily agreed to introduce a ban on television advertising during live sports, according to reports by the BBC and gambling trade title Casino Guardian.

The ban will apply to all sports apart from horse racing and has been agreed through the Remote Gambling Association, which told Campaign it had not yet been finalised and that any changes to TV rules include a six-month lead-in period prior to implementation.

Negotiations included Bet365, Betfair, Betfred, Ladbrokes Coral Group, Paddy Power, Sky Bet, Stan James and William Hill.

The agreement needs ratification from the Industry Group for Responsible Gambling in order for the ban to take effect and according to Casino Guardian, this is expected to take place by the end of December or in early 2019.

Remote Gambling Association chief executive Clive Hawkswood told Campaign: "The BBC have guessed about this somewhat and no ad changes have been finalised yet.

"The bottom line is that there is a cross-sector group, IGRG, which is responsible for the industry code, and the official position is: 'The Gambling Industry Code for Socially Responsible Advertising is reviewed annually, and several options are currently being considered as the basis for possible enhancements in 2019. However, nothing has yet been finalised.’"

Tom Watson, Labour's shadow secretary of state for digital, culture, media and sport, who proposed a similar ban in September, told the BBC he was "delighted" by the move as the number of ads during live sports had "clearly reached crisis levels".

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