Bingo Dominates UK Advertising Figures

In the UK there is hardly a commercial television break without an ad for at least one online gambling site of some sort. During the day online bingo operators target stay at home moms and most online bingo ads are aired before 5 pm. Newspapers and gambling blogs say that in recent years the number of television ads for online bingo and gambling sites has increased 600%. An article in the Daily Mail said that during the last eight years the number of gambling ads increased by 1,443%! Recently UK media regulator Ofcom released statistics showing that the number of ads for gambling sites has increased six fold since the country’s gambling laws were liberalized six years ago.

Ofcom said that in 2012 1.39 million gambling ads were aired on commercial television. In 2005 there were only 90 thousand ads for gambling operators on commercial television. In 2007, the year that the Gambling Act took effect there were 234 thousand ads and in in 2011 there were 955 thousand gambling ads. In 2005 gambling ads accounted for 0.5% of all television ads. The percentage increased to 2.9% in 2011 and last year the percentage rose to 4.1%. Experts believe that a combination of new digital television channels and the deregulation of the gambling sector are responsible for the huge increase in the number of online gambling ads. Not everyone is thrilled about the increase. Liberal Democrat MP Tessa Munt is calling for changes to the current gambling law. The Broadcast Committee of Advertising Practice said it would study the Ofcom figures.

Prior to 2007 gambling ads not related to the National Lottery, Bingo halls and football pools were banned. Online bingo operators are responsible for most of the increase. In 2012 38.3% of all gambling ads were for online bingo sites. Bingo operators aired 532 thousand ads in 2012. In terms of ‘impacts’ (The number of times viewers saw an ad) adult viewers saw 30.9 billion gambling ads. Once again bingo dominated the impact figures at 41.2% followed by the national lottery at 27.2%. Online bingo and gaming operators have spent billions promoting their products and services keeping thousands employed in positions that pay well. Once offshore sites are required to obtain a UK gaming license commercial television viewers can expect a further increase in the number of gambling ads.

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