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Voluntary ban on UK TV gambling ads could hurt media-rights values

Sport media-rights could become relatively less valuable in the UK if Britain’s gambling firms follow through with proposals to stop advertising during live sports coverage.

The Remote Gambling Association, whose members include William Hill, Paddy Power and Ladbrokes, was reported by the BBC to have voluntarily agreed a whistle-to-whistle ban on television gambling advertising yesterday. The perception is that firms have taken a tactical decision to self-regulate in the face of concerns about the rise of problem gambling, particularly among children.

The Times reports [paywalled] that broadcasters are lobbying against the proposals because income from gambling adverts is integral to their business models. Sky Sports and BT Sport have their own sponsorship agreements with bookmakers for their Premier League coverage while the EFL is sponsored by SkyBet.

The Premier League – the most valuable media-rights property in the UK market – will earn just under £5bn from its rights over three seasons from 2019-20 to 2021-22. Its latest deal was agreed at the start of this year so the earliest any impact could be gauged will be in three years’ time when the rights come up for renewal again.

The reduction on television gambling advertising could also have an impact on the values of shirt and LED inventory for top-flight British clubs.