NEWS: Bingo halls prepare to mount major ad drive

Britain’s bingo industry is to consider selecting agencies for a promotional drive following the Government’s decision this week to relax the controls on advertising.

Britain’s bingo industry is to consider selecting agencies for a

promotional drive following the Government’s decision this week to relax

the controls on advertising.



Industry sources said that, with pounds 800 million a year being staked

in bingo clubs, a multi-million pound spend could be anticipated.



The Bingo Association of Great Britain hopes to run a generic campaign

for the industry on television. It will leave local radio and press

advertising to individual companies such as Rank.



In a consultative document this week, the Home Office proposed that

bingo clubs should be allowed to run ads in newspapers and magazines,

cinemas, on billboards and radio, and to use direct mailshots to promote

prize money.



However, the Government is much more cautious about television ads for

bingo. It warned: ‘We must be satisfied before proposing any relaxation

in these restrictions that the result would not be to encourage

vulnerable people - particularly the young - to gamble excessively or

to accept gambling as a normal leisure activity without being aware of

the risks involved.’



One option is to amend the Independent Television Commission’s code to

allow TV ads to be shown, but not during or next to children’s

programmes.



The Government’s plans to sweep away the controls over the gaming

industry - predicted in Campaign (12 May, 1995) - follow pressure by the

bingo industry to be able to compete on equal terms with the National

Lottery.



Casinos, which are also covered by this ruling, will now be allowed to

advertise in listings magazines, holiday guides and telephone

directories. The industry also hopes to run ads in local newspapers.



The Government ruled out ads for casinos on TV or radio. It said the

move would ‘carry much more substantial risks’ than for bingo.



Betting shops will also be permitted to advertise more freely in

newspapers, on billboards and to use mailshots, but not to advertise on

television or radio.



The advertising industry will be asked for its views on the proposals

during a three-month consultation period.



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