Online gambling ad impressions almost triple during lockdown

UK was among top 10 countries for paid gambling ads online last month.

Gambling ads: number of brands have pledged to stop TV and radio advertising
Gambling ads: number of brands have pledged to stop TV and radio advertising

Paid ad impressions for casino and gambling brands almost tripled in the UK over the past month, despite MPs calling for a moratorium on all betting advertising, new research has uncovered.

The study, by GoldenCasinoNews.com, also found that the UK was among the top 10 countries for paid gambling ads online last month, having recorded 112,818 between 5 April and 4 May – up 196% year on year.

MPs in the UK have been calling for a moratorium on all gambling advertising during the Covid-19 lockdown, when many people are staying indoors and potentially more prone to gamble online.

Last week, The Betting and Gaming Council, which represents major bookmakers including Paddy Power, Ladbrokes and Bet365, said its members would suspend TV and radio ads for a minimum of six weeks by 7 May (tomorrow). 

While the brands would continue to advertise online and across direct marketing channels, the BGC said members have "significantly dropped" such ads in an attempt to "commit to further increases in safer gambling messaging online". 

The BGC did not respond to comment on why gambling ads appear to have increased significantly in the past month.

Globally, paid ad impressions for casino and gambling brands have more than doubled during the coronavirus pandemic. The increase was 158% year on year over a three-week period last month.

During the 16th, 17th and 18th weeks of this year, the survey counted an average of 352,000 paid ad impressions. 

However, paid ad impressions are down year to date in 2020, due to a slump in online advertising by gambling brands when the pandemic first hit. Cumulatively, paid ad impressions up to the 18th week of 2020 stood at 6,409,590, down 9% on the same period last year.

The report added that the increasing number of paid impressions in recent weeks might be a "last move by advertisers" in an effort to grow their online user base before physical casinos and betting shops reopen in May in various countries. 

The data was acquired from Setupad, a company that develops and operates header-bidding technology. 

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