The latest edition of The Ashes biennial test cricket series between England and Australia kicked off on Thursday morning and for the first time in some twelve years fans watching all of the action on television are not seeing gambling advertisements before 9pm.
According to a Thursday report from The Guardian newspaper, the hotly-contested five-test competition is the first major sporting event to be held in the United Kingdom since the implementation of new rules that ban domestic gambling firms from advertising their wares via televised games in advance of this evening watershed.
The British gambling industry voluntarily agreed to this updated policy last year as a way to help address concerns that sporting broadcasts were becoming replete with betting advertisements adversely impacting children and vulnerable individuals. Under the adjusted ‘whistle to whistle’ rules, firms are now purportedly moreover forbidden from advertising any gambling services from five minutes before the start of a contest until five minutes after.
The Guardian reported that the revised advertising regulations are to additionally apply to all matches from the domestic football season, which gets underway from later this evening, but will not encompass horse and greyhound racing broadcasts as these are seen as being intrinsically associated with sportsbetting.
The prevalence of gambling advertisements on British televisions has been gradually increasing ever since the passage of the Gambling Act of 2005. This piece of legislation gave online casinos and sportsbetting firms the same ability as the National Lottery and local bingo operators to exploit television advertising.
Despite criticism that the new rules do not go far enough and should be expanded to encompass in-stadium advertising and shirt sponsorship deals, the United Kingdom’s former Culture Secretary, Jeremy Wright, reportedly supported the changes as a way to help make gambling operators ‘socially responsible.’
Wright reportedly told The Guardian…
“It is vital children and vulnerable people are protected from the threat of gambling-related harm.”