A ban on TV betting ads during live sports programmes has been hailed a huge success after the number of children viewing them plummeted.

Under the ‘whistle to whistle’ ban, ads cannot be shown from five minutes before a live sporting event until five minutes after it ends, before the 9pm watershed.

Research by Enders Analysis found that in its first 12 months in operation, the ban has led to a 97 per cent reduction in the number of TV betting adverts seen by children during that period.

Overall, the amount of gambling adverts viewed by youngsters also fell by 70 per cent over the full duration of live sports programmes, while the ban also contributed to a reduction of 1.7 billion views of betting ads during its first five months in operation.

Fresh crackdown on under-18s viewing betting ads online

A fresh crackdown has been launched to further prevent under-18s from viewing betting ads online.

The updated Industry Code for Socially Responsible Advertising means BGC members must ensure that all social media ads must be targeted at consumers aged 25 and over unless the website proves they can be precisely targeted at over-18s.

Betting adverts appearing on search engines must make clear that they are for over-18s, while the ads themselves must include safer gambling messages.

YouTube users will only see betting ads if they are logged in to an ageverified account, and BGC members will also have to post frequent responsible gambling messages on their Twitter accounts.

Safer gambling messages increased in wake of Covid

Betting operators have agreed to boost the number of safer gambling messages following the pandemic.

In a further sign of the industry’s commitment to raising standards, at least 20 per cent of their TV and radio ads will promote responsible gambling.

The pledge came after they voluntary agreed to axe all TV and radio ads for the first six weeks of the UKwide lockdown.

That came amid concerns that lockdown could lead to a rise in problem gambling online – a scenario which has not been borne out by subsequent studies.

BGC members will also continue to abide by the stringent measures which are already put in place by advertising standards watchdogs.

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