BGC Reports Reduction in Betting Adverts During 2022 World Cup


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Carl Hughes Betting Expert

Updated:December 31, 2022

The United Kingdom Betting and Gaming council (BGC) has released a new report which provides statistics on the number of betting adverts ran on ITV throughout the 2022 World Cup period in comparison with the same time during the 2018 tournament. Surprisingly, and contrary to expectations, BGC has detected a reduction in the number of adverts that were aired.

Figures show, for example, that the number of ads which aired on ITV during the group stages of the 2022 tournament was around 34% lower than the same stages of the 2018 tournament in Russia. From the 167 betting adverts in 2018 (during group stages), BGC has recorded a dramatic drop by a third, with 110 adverts shown this year. These figures do not include National Lottery adverts.

The Chief Executive of BGC Michael Dugher provided some insight into the numbers, stating that they were yet another proof that the grim predictions before the start of the World Cup tournament were incorrect:

“At the start of the World Cup, the usual suspects said we would see a ‘perfect storm’ of problem gambling, sparked by waves of betting adverts. This data proves that these warnings were yet again wrong. The evidence shows that calls from prohibitionists to ban betting ads and sports sponsorship are not backed up by the evidence, with the government themselves acknowledging independent research ‘did not establish a causal link between exposure to advertising and the development of problem gambling.’”

Another interesting statistic shows that the number of ads shown per live football game in the group stages of the 2022 World Cup has halved compared to the 2018 tournament – from 8.35 ads per game to 4.5 ads per game. The BGC has taken the credit for this, claiming that it is a direct result of a rule it introduced in 2019 – the “whistle-to-whistle” ban. The ban prohibits the airing of betting adverts 5 minutes before and 5 minutes after sporting events aired pre-watershed (i.e. between 5.30am and 9pm). Horse and greyhound racing ads are an exception to the rule.

The BGC has the data to back this claim, as a report in 2021 proved that the whistle-to-whistle ban resulted in children seeing 97% fewer betting ads than before. The introduction of the ban was largely successful due to the voluntary participation of the leading UK sports betting companies. One of these was the Remote Gambling Association (RGA), among whose members feature UK online sports betting providers Ladbrokes, Bet365, and Paddy Power. Other popular bookmakers who supported the ban include Betfred, SkyBet, William Hill, and Betfair.

At the tie, the ban was welcomed by GambleAware, whose Chief Executive Marc Etches commented positively on it and supported it with data and research figures. Also complimentary of the ban was Senet Group, whose Chief Executive Sarah Hanratty said, “This is a welcome move from the leading industry operators who are taking the initiative to respond to public concern.” Senet Group is an independent regulatory body for the betting industry which promotes responsible gambling and socially conscientious betting marketing.

Further speaking about the reduction in betting adverts, BGC’s Dugher suggested that the result is a further proof of the commitment undertaken by members of the BGC to raise the standards of sports betting marketing, and to promote safer gambling using features and tools such as setting deposit limits, introducing betting time-outs, and providing help and support to bettors who need it. Dugher also hit out at the “unsafe, unregulated black market” which does not contribute to the improvement of the industry and the sports involved, and does not pay tax.

The Betting and Gaming Council was founded in 2019 and its members comprise of over 90% of UK sports betting providers – including physical shops, online sports betting sites, as well as gaming, casino, and bingo operators. The council’s aims are “to raise standards, create a culture of safer gambling and build public and institutional trust in our world class industry”. The Council’s members include all the leading sports betting operators in the UK, including Bet365, Flutter Entertainment, Entain plc, William Hill, 888 UK ltd, as well as independent bookmakers like BetVictor, Betway, Inspired Gaming UK and many more.

Through its work, the council does a lot to support local communities, and some of its recent campaigns include raising £2.9m from the virtual Grand National to the benefit of NHS Charities Together. The Council is also responsible for the Bet Regret Campaign and the Player Protection Toolkit, both of which aim to make the UK sports betting industry a safer and more enjoyable activity for bettors.

About the author

Carl Hughes


Carl Hughes


Carl Hughes is a leading expert on sports and casino betting. Carl began his career with a BSc in Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences from the University of Birmingham before working within the industry for some of the bigger names (GVC and Bet365) and has been praised as being "a leading sports betting commentator".