Rangers and Celtic are sponsored by betting companies (pic: SNS Group)
Gambling companies have agreed a voluntary television advertising ban in response to campaigns aimed at curbing the growth of betting addictions among the young.
The Remote Gambling Association (RGA), whose 30-plus members include Bet365, Ladbrokes and Paddy Power, has struck a deal to stop adverts during live sports broadcasts.
More than 90 minutes of adverts were shown during the football World Cup alone and there is concern that television campaigns are fuelling a rise in problem gamblers.
The Gambling Commission claims 430,000 Britons fit that category, many of them under-age. The UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) published a study, which revealed that the number of children categorised as problem gamblers had risen to a record high of more than 50,000 while a further 70,000 are at risk of getting hooked on gambling.
Companies including SkyBet, Betfred, Betfair, Stan James, Gala Coral and William Hill will ensure no adverts will be broadcast for a defined period before and after a game is broadcast.
Labour has been pushing for similar measures which will include any game that starts prior to the 9pm watershed but ends after that time.
Some gaming companies have publicly declared their support for new curbs, with GVC, the owner of Ladbrokes, saying last month that it supported a move to ban gambling ads around live football prior to the 9pm TV watershed.
Sky announced that from next summer it will allow a maximum of one gambling ad per commercial break.
Horse racing will be exempt from the restrictions as betting is deemed to be a fundamental part of its operation.
Gambling sponsorship in football has grown substantially. Celtic and Rangers have gambling companies as shirt sponsors, as do almost 60% of clubs in England’s top two divisions.