Home » UK gambling charity GambleAware calls for stronger warnings on betting ads ahead of Euro 2024 | Yogonet International

UK gambling charity GambleAware calls for stronger warnings on betting ads ahead of Euro 2024 | Yogonet International

GambleAware has urged for the implementation of smoking-style health warnings in advertisements for bookmakers and online casinos. The UK gambling charity’s call comes in light of concerns that an increase in betting ads during the upcoming Euro 2024 football tournament could hinder efforts by individuals attempting to reduce or quit gambling.

The charity criticized the current industry-approved slogan “Take Time To Think,” which is featured in gambling advertisements, calling it “inadequate.” GambleAware proposed its own guidelines based on research indicating that extensive exposure to betting ads, particularly during major sports events, makes it more challenging for individuals with gambling problems to abstain.

Funded by donations from the gambling industry, GambleAware’s independence has been questioned. Nonetheless, its push to replace the “Take Time To Think” slogan may lead to a conflict with industry operators and their lobby group, the Betting & Gaming Council (BGC), which developed the slogan.

The previous slogan, “When the fun stops, stop,” had also faced significant criticism. Defending the current slogan, the BGC stated that “Take Time To Think” was developed through consultation with the government and academics to find the most effective way of promoting responsible betting.

GambleAware now advocates for ads to feature new health warnings, such as “Gambling can be addictive” and “Gambling comes at a cost.” A YouGov survey commissioned by GambleAware found that over half of those with gambling problems reported that seeing ads made it difficult for them to reduce their gambling. Similarly, 55% felt overwhelmed by the prevalence of gambling advertisements.

“We know that gambling advertising can contribute to the normalization of gambling as just a bit of ‘harmless fun’,” said Alexia Clifford, chief communications officer at GambleAware. “We want to see stronger restrictions on gambling advertising to protect people from harm. We hope the health warnings and clear signposting set out in these new guidelines will ensure that people are clear about the risks of gambling and where to go for help and support should they need it.”

The gambling industry donated £50 million ($63.6 million) to GambleAware last year, under a voluntary system. The Conservative government has proposed replacing this voluntary system with a statutory levy to secure more funds for research, education, and treatment as part of its gambling reform white paper released last year.

However, the proposal’s future is uncertain due to Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s decision to call a summer election. Labour has not yet confirmed whether it would implement the levy if it wins the general election.

Commenting on the issue, the BGC stated: “The ‘Take Time To Think’ campaign was launched after extensive customer research, as well as engagement with academics, government, operators and stakeholders including GambleAware on the most effective way of encouraging responsible betting. The white paper committed to review customer messaging, including those provided by industry, and we look forward to engaging on that work with whoever forms the next government.”