Beyond a Bet: latest podcast episode looks at gambling advertising

You can now listen to the latest episode of the Message Recall podcast to find out how gambling advertisers are responding to pressures from increasing levels of problem and youth gambling. The answer is, as you might expect, quite disappointing.

In this episode, Tommy and Peter discuss the upcoming Gambling Act Review and ask whether it responds effectively to the gambling industry’s dramatic expansion into the markets of internet and mobile games. Online gambling had very little presence when the original act was passed, but now the landscape has changed completely.

The episode looks at the effects of this boom, in particular at the opportunities presented to gambling advertisers by digital platforms. We investigate the impact of public messaging on the health and wellbeing of individuals who use gambling products and ask whether the upcoming review is likely to be effective in curbing some of its most dangerous effects.

We speak to Professor Agnes Nairn, Chair of Marketing at the School of Economics, Finance and Management at the University of Bristol, about changes to the ASA gambling advertising policies, and how it hasn’t suitably adjusted to the increase in online gambling advertising. She believes gambling has been increasingly normalised, while at the same time there has been an increase in gambling problems. For instance, the NHS reports that gambling-related hospital admissions have more than doubled in the past six years.

In addition, James Grimes, founder of The Big Step, a Bristol-based anti-gambling harm group talks to us about what it is like to be an individual with a gambling problem and the effects of relentless public advertising. He calls for an end to gambling sponsorship and advertising in sporting events and by sports teams, citing the strong link between youth gambling and sport club sponsorship. With the BBC – a public-funded body – covering public sports events, and this public health issue on the rise, is the new Gambling Act Review doing enough?

This episode also features discussions with Nathan Critchlow, a Research Fellow at The Institute for Social and Marketing Health based in the University of Sterling. He speaks to us about the tactics used by gambling companies to introduce new players to gambling and to keep players engaged and continuing to gamble beyond their means. The phrase, “When the fun stops, stop.” places responsibility on the individual gambler – but should this responsibility not be placed on the industry and those promoting widespread gambling? How can we strike a balance between gambling operators’ legal obligation to put consumer health before their own profits, and individual responsibility of the consumer?

Find out the answers to all these questions and more by listening to the latest episode, Beyond a Bet, on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Simplecast or on the website, here.

For help and information on gambling addiction, see the following resources and links:

Nathan Critchlow, Betting and gaming: the COVID-19 impact study
Agnes Nairn, Biddable Youth
James Grimes, The Big Step
Adfree Cities, ASA report – Too close for comfort

Gambling support:
NHS website
GamCare is the leading UK provider of free information, advice and support for anyone harmed by gambling

Published by