Following on from The Betting and Gaming Council’s welcomed announcement that TV gambling ads were going to be banned from our screens until June, MP’s accused the Betting and Gaming Council (BGC) of yet again trying to pull the wool over the eyes of the general public by manipulating the ban into a crude marketing ploy. Far from seeing less gambling adverts on TV, these were simply replaced with so called ‘Responsible Gambling’ messages and how to keep your gambling ‘safe’.

The gambling industry continue to pump out the Responsible Gambling mantra via their TV ad bombardments, whilst shooting out messages to go and log into their online platforms, which will clearly entice many disordered gamblers and those susceptible to gambling harm, to enter the lucrative and harmful online casino platforms.

The BGC, which spends the majority its time either spinning news sinisterly or deflecting from the realities of their failings, pumped out their usual and weary ‘prohibitionists’ defence, whilst claiming they only control 50% of the adverts shown. If the BGC seemingly can’t engage all UK gambling companies then it really begs the question as to why and perhaps shows the emerging divisions within their industry. Remarkably they hit back by putting the onus on campaign groups to call upon non BGC members to follow their lead with the ad ban, despite it being a charade.

Charles Ritchie of Gambling With Lives, a charity set up to support bereaved families of gambling-related suicides, said, “Instead of shouting ‘prohibitionists’ at anyone who wants a properly regulated gambling industry, the BGC should get their own members to act honourably and decently.’

Interestingly, the Guardian newspaper was reported to have been shown a confidential report which suggested that several of the UK’s ‘Big Gun’ company companies, which would indicate they are most likely to be members of the BGC, have increased their spends to appear at the top of Google’s search results for phrases such as ‘online casino games’. However, the Guardian reports that the company concerned with divulging this information refused to go on public record due its own links with the gambling industry. Worse still, a prominent voice on twitter, @gamblinginsight reported last night that search terms entered into Google, such as ‘stopping gambling’ revealed that GVC owned Foxy Bingo and Coral along with Paddy Power, came top of the search.

Chair and Vice Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group for gambling harm, Carolyn Harris and Iain Duncan Smith, said, ‘These are clearly just forms of advertising under the thinly veiled guise of a social responsibility message.’