According to researchers from the Universities of Glasgow and Stirling, bookie advertising increased 50 percent during the winter lockdowns in the United Kingdom. Also, they said that it placed problem gamblers at risk.
The researchers found that advertising expenses in 2021 reached record highs compared to spending before the pandemic. Additionally, a study showed bookies increased their advertising expenses by 49 percent to £10.3 million a week in November 2020.
According to bookie PPH sources, bookies spent £7.6 million from January to March 2021. The increase came even though major brands promised to reduce their advertising expenses during the first lockdown. Also, critics called it a public relations exercise.
Bookie Advertising during Lockdowns
The Betting and Gaming Council said they removed product advertising to protect against problem gambling during the pandemic. However, according to bookie software experts, advertising expenses remained at a higher level after the lockdowns.
Sports betting companies spent £8.3 million a week in the first half of 2021. On the other hand, they spent £6.8 million a week in 2019. Also, the researchers found that 87 percent of people suffering from gambling problems said ads made them spend money on wagers. As a result, people critical of the gambling industry want to restrict advertising to reduce the risk of the problem.
The Betting and Gaming Council said its members spent 20 percent of their ads to educate people about problem gambling. Additionally, the UK Gambling Commission said that rates of problem gambling dropped 0.2 percent in the year up to June 2022. It was down from 0.5 percent of the same period in 2020.
During the pandemic, overall gambling revenues dropped by £1.7 billion. It discouraged people from becoming a bookie. Additionally, the Council refuted the researchers’ claim that ads during the pandemic caused an increase in problem gambling.