Thursday 6 December 2018 6:09 pm

Gambling firms see shares drop amid reports of TV advert ban

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Shares in major gambling firms took a hit today following reports of a ban on advertising during live sports events.

Paddy Power, Bet365 and Ladbrokes are among major bookmakers that have reportedly agreed to a ban on TV adverts during sports broadcasts amid fears aggressive marketing campaigns are fuelling the UK’s gambling problem.

Shares in William Hill and 888 fell almost three per cent and five per cent respectively, while GVC’s share price closed down 5.6 per cent 

The proposed ban, which was first reported by the BBC, follows months of pressure on gambling firms amid concerns about the rising number of adverts during sports fixtures.

In October GVC chief executive Kenny Alexander called for a ban of ads shown before the 9pm watershed, while Sky has pledged to limit betting adverts to one per commercial break.

The ‘whistle-to-whistle' ban will reportedly cover any fixture that begins before 9pm. However, it will not apply to horse racing, which relies heavily on gambling revenues.

The deal was struck by trade body the Remote Gambling Association (RGA) and is subject to approval by the Industry Group for Responsible Gambling (IGRG), according to BBC reports.

Secretary of state for DCMS, Jeremy Wright, today welcomed news of the ban.

"Gambling firms banning advertising on TV during live sport is a welcome move and I am pleased that the sector is stepping up and responding to public concerns,” he said.

"It is vital children and vulnerable people are protected from the threat of gambling related harm. Companies must be socially responsible."

Figures published by the Gambling Commission revealed there are roughly 430,000 problem gamblers in the UK.

The RGA could not be reached for comment.