Just last night, whilst writing for the blog, I wondered how these betting firms get away with it. To put things into context, I write through the night. It’s the only time the house is quiet.
Unfortunately, with lock down of late, our house is like a pressure cooker of activity during daylight hours.
With the television on in the background, during one ad break, no less than three betting firms were advertising their latest and greatest offers. My initial thought was, that they need the revenue, as their shops are shut currently.
Putting that thought aside, it occurred that there’s a more sinister motive going on. That being, advertising to the vulnerable, that aren’t on full incomes, as well as those with problem gambling habits, that can’t reach out for help in this climate.
Problem gambling is a serious issue, and one that I addressed in a previous post HERE.
Urged To Halt Advertising
It came as a surprise, nonetheless, that in today’s broadsheets, the matter is being addressed. No less than twenty MP’s have called for restrictions on gambling adverts on radio as well as television, during lock down.
Betting firms halt tv advertising! The BGC or Betting and Gaming Council, purportedly represent ninety percent of all online gaming businesses, operating within the United Kingdom. Today, they’ve given their members a deadline of 7th May 2020, by which to stop all promotions by radio and television.
The Chief Executive of the BGC Michael Dugher stated, “From day one of this crisis we have sought to protect customers potentially at risk“. That may be, but we’re in the sixth week of lock down now, and this problem has been allowed to persist.
As always, the BGC are slow to take action, as their livelihoods are funded by the industry that the BGC is trying to regulate. Quite a paradox! In fact, the betting industry’s proposals have been slammed as very weak by MP’s. It appears that the BGC, like many other regulators, have no teeth!
The News Is Welcomed
Today’s news comes as a great relief to charities that are supporting gambling related issues. It’s also welcomed by those affected as a result of problem or addictive gambling.
With the pandemic in full swing, up until now, advertisers have had direct contact with their audience. It goes without saying, that yet again, the betting firms are having it all their own way.
If you or someone you know is affected by problem gambling, please visit Gamcare confidentially.
I for one, will appreciate, no more adverts on television for the time being. It’s not as if there’s any sport on at the moment to bet on really. It’s particularly cruel to target people on limited incomes.
With the sharp rise in Universal Credit claims, and the vast majority of employees on furlough, It’s self evident, that many households cannot sustain the burden of gambling, when household income has dropped a further twenty percent.
I’m not going to hold my breath for an apology from the betting industry.
What Next For Betting Firms
Like most firms, the betting firms are struggling at this moment in time. I can understand their aims of boosting business through advertising. Is this enough to save them from their own demise?
The bookies have had it too good for too long. When bookmakers rely on fixed odds terminals for business, It’s a clear sign that their bookmaking prowess has taken second seat. It’s ironic, that William Hill’s, once seen as a high street favorite, touting PR man Graham Sharpe, has fallen under such a spell.
The instance that the fixed odds terminals were limited to maximum £2 bets from £100 bets, William Hills closed 750 high street branches. That’s no coincidence, and I see other bookies struggle for business.
Bookmaking is an industry that will change as a result of this pandemic. They’ll either become better, as businesses or they’ll fail.
Punters are fed up having their accounts closed for winning a few quid. If a bookie won’t lay a bet, then in my eyes, they should have their licenses revoked. Let’s face it, if they looked after their customers better, they’d have no need to throw money at new sign up bonuses. Most bookmakers in my area have refused my bets, and I’ve written an article about it HERE for you.
Sink Or Swim
Despite being in the business of managing risk, I feel that betting firms have isolated their customers, to such an extent, that they’ll suffer. Unless bookmakers change, through their own volition, and not prods by the government, It’s unlikely they’ll survive as is.
If they think after lock down, that the shops will be full, they maybe in for disappointment. In order to get folks back into the shops, they’ll have to make more offers. It costs a lot of money to buy business. Then of course there’s going to be the expense of tv and radio adverts again. How long can the spending go on for?
If I trade (bet) with a spread betting firm, they won’t restrict my winnings if I keep on winning. If I buy shares, and they increase in value, the broker won’t ban me. Why do bookies ban then?
It’s because they’ve got lazy, and aren’t prepared to manage a book correctly. A winning punter is no risk to a bookmaker that prices correctly. That’s what their over round is for. It guarantees their edge on each event, and pays their way. I don’t begrudge them a living, but I doubt they’ll get a government bailout.
Writing this, I’ve got a bit carried away with my own little rant, for which I apologize. I guess time will tell, whether my predictions come true. My hope is that the industry does gets streamlined. Many of the large firms have grown by acquisition, I believe to their detriment. They all have the same policies, same prices, same rude, poorly trained staff.
If they started to ask themselves, “why should a punter bet with us” then they may start to get ahead. Up until now, customers receive little more than disdain. At least for the moment though, the television will be advert free.
What are your thoughts? Why not leave a comment below.