RGA hosts critical leaders meeting on ‘voluntary advertising code’

The leaders of Britain’s biggest betting operators are reported to be holding discussions this week, seeking to develop a rigorous new voluntary mandate on betting/gambling advertising.

Mark Kleinman City Editor for Sky News, reports that the Remote Gambling Association (RGA) will host a leaders meeting on Tuesday to discuss the development of a new ‘advertising standards code’, which RGA members will be forced to follow.

Acting on the front-foot to regain UK-wide public and political trust, betting leadership seeks to implement drastic measures on reducing gambling-related TV advertising coverage.

Top of the agenda, leaders will discuss the implementation of a forced watershed on gambling advertising, a restriction of one gambling/betting advert per commercial break and a ban on all forms of ‘in-play’ or ‘call to action’ adverts during live sports broadcasts.

Industry analysts will be keeping a close eye on whether the RGA meeting can deliver a consensus on industry advertising ethics and standards across its 35 members.

Nevertheless, its reported that leading RGA members have called on introducing a voluntary advertising code, aware that the industry is in a fight to save its damaged reputation following turbulent 2018 proceedings.

Regardless of securing consensus, betting incumbents face adjustments on advertising practices, as this November Sky UK, announced a strict new protocol on broadcasting gambling-related content inbound for 2019.

Stephen van Rooyen, Chief Executive of Sky UK confirmed that the digital broadcaster would introduce a ‘one betting/gambling advert’ per ad-break policy across Sky’s entire network, covering sports, entertainment, lifestyle, news and HD channels.

Furthermore, inbound for 2020 the broadcaster will develop new capabilities through its AdSmart technology enabling audiences to block gambling-content to being viewed on Sky and Virgin Media digital platforms.

Prior to Sky UK’s announcement on reducing betting related content, Kenneth Alexander Chief Executive of FTSE100 GVC Holdings had called for a ban on gambling adverts broadcast before the UK 9 pm watershed period.

In a statement to industry incumbents, Kenneth Alexander stated that drastic actions were needed by all stakeholder on advertising, education, research and social responsibility to develop a sustainable marketplace.

Sarah Hanratty – The Senet Group

Reacting to the news, this morning Sarah Hanratty, the new Chief Executive of industry independent watchdog and standards association The Senet Group, detailed that the RGA’s directive was a much-needed step forward

Sarah Hanratty, Senet Group CEO, said: “The gambling industry is taking decisive steps to take its responsibilities seriously and address the unease that many feel at the volume and density of gambling advertising, and its potential impact on young people. We encourage the industry, broadcasters and government to bring this to a speedy resolution.”

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