Britain’s four biggest bookmakers, who launched a voluntary campaign last year to reduce incentive-based advertising and educate the public about problem gambling, reportedly want smaller players to join them?by government mandate, if need be.
Seeking to avoid “an un-level playing field,” executives from Coral, Ladbrokes, Paddy Power and William Hill recently met with Helen Grant, U.K. gambling minister. They reportedly requested that the government compel all bookmaking operations to follow the guidelines they created for themselves.
Through an industry watchdog called the Senet Group, created by the four companies, they announced they would no longer run ads that offer free play before 9 p.m., and also include information about compulsive gambling in their ads.
One advertising campaign funded by the industry uses the tagline, “When the fun stops, stop.”
Some observers believe the self-policing effort was a way for the companies to sidestep greater government regulations. The Big Four hope smaller companies such as Victor Chandler and Bet365 will be made to abide by the same restrictions.