A campaigning MP has called on ITV to suspend all gambling adverts during the upcoming European Football Championship.
Ronnie Cowan, Vice-Chair of the House of Commons all-party group on gambling-related harm, has called for the broadcaster to suspend gambling adverts throughout the tournament, in a bid to reach a situation where gambling is “tolerated, not promoted.”
Cowan, Scottish National Party member for Inverclyde, highlighted the dangers that gambling ads could have for children and those in vulnerable situations.
“The European Championships should be about the beautiful game but it will be impossible to watch without exposure to gambling ads,” said Cowan. “This type of advertising can have a devastating effect on young people and the vulnerable.
“We need to move to a place where gambling is tolerated, not promoted. My fear is that, with the greater exposure to gambling adverts this football festival will bring, new victims will suffer. I’m backing a suspension of gambling adverts on ITV during the tournament.”
According to The Sunday Post, around £2.3bn ($3.3bn) was bet in the UK on the 2018 World Cup, with ITV running 172 gambling-related ads during the tournament.
While the broadcaster looks set to include gambling advertising as part of its service, it says the prevalence of such ads will be “significantly reduced” compared to the last major football tournament it broadcasted, the 2018 World Cup.
“The amount of gambling advertising around the live broadcast of football matches at the Euros will be significantly reduced compared to the 2018 World Cup,” a statement from ITV read.
“The majority of matches ITV plans to broadcast live will have no gambling ads under the ‘whistle to whistle’ ban and the remainder, which all have an 8pm kick-off, will have no gambling ads in the ad breaks before kick-off and before 9pm.”