It follows proposals from the Remote Gambling Association (RGA) to drop such advertising.
Stephen van Rooyen says Sky shares the concern that gambling ads are becoming too widespread and have the potential to cause harm. However, in an article for The Times, van Rooyen says the proposals overlook the largely unregulated online world.
“If the RGA and gambling companies are serious about protecting vulnerable gamblers, then they should start by looking at where they spend the most money, what has the least level of regulation and where there is most evidence of harm: the online world,” he says, adding independent research from Gamble Aware shows money spent on gambling marketing online is five times that of TV, and the amount of cash spent promoting gambling on social media has more than tripled over the past three years.
According to van Rooyen, Sky is planning to use its AdSmart technology to enable people to block gambling advertising if they wish, admitting there will be some financial impact on the broadcaster.
It’s anticipated this will be brought in from June 2020 when it will be possible to opt out of gambling-related advertising on 140 channels, including Sky Sports. It will be available on Sky+, Sky Q and Virgin Media, which introduces the personalised advertising system next year.
However, his main concern is that the problem is simply transferred online, while depriving broadcasters of revenues that can be translated into original programming.
“This doesn’t feel like a good outcome for anyone except gambling firms and online tech platforms; the same platforms who by avoiding their tax commitments deny government the funds that society needs.”