It would be impossible for anyone not to have noticed just how many people in the UK now play online games such as bingo. That particular game is one that people in this country have long had a soft spot for, but the difference today is that it is mainly played on the internet.
Many of the websites that provide online bingo games have become enormously successful as a result. One example of that is 888 ladies bingo, which has millions of subscribers who play its many bingo games on a regular basis.
However, while most forms of online gambling are very popular in 2022, there is a difference between bingo and the rest when it comes to the freedom to advertise on television.
Bingo Television AdvertisingAdvertisements for top online bingo companies are a regular feature of television in the UK nowadays. That is true both of daytime television and the post-watershed shows that are broadcast after 9pm at night.
This is not dominated by any one particular company. Viewers watching TV will see adverts for major online bingo companies, with a fairly even spread between them.
Given the frequency with which these ads appear, it seems likely that this will not strike most people as unusual. However, when compared with the situation regarding gambling advertising in general, it is actually quite surprising.
Bingo vs. Other Types of Gambling AdvertsThe UK Government made the decision to liberalise the regulations surrounding gambling advertising on television back in 2005. Up until that point, the likes of casinos and bookmakers – both online and bricks and mortar ones – were completely prohibited from advertising on TV.
The passing of the Gambling Act in 2007 made it legal for these gaming providers to create TV adverts and any UK viewer will have seen them. However, even with changed laws, the situation remained different for these types of gambling firms compared with bingo companies.
While online bingo firms are free to advertise at all hours, online casino and sports betting companies are restricted to placing ads after 9pm. Despite those restrictions though, a study conducted by UK television regulator Ofcom found that advertisements for those types of gaming had risen by 600% in the six-year period following the relaxation of the rules.
There are firm guidelines that all types of gambling providers – including online bingo ones – are still subject too though. The most notable of these are the ones concerning responsible gaming, with companies required to avoid promoting reckless betting habits in their adverts.
Those rules bring us to one of the reasons why bingo is treated differently from other forms of gambling when it comes to television advertising.
There are different laws for different gambling activities and TV advertising.
Why the Situation is Different for BingoAll gambling providers must abide by social responsibility rules when advertising on television or other mediums. However, unlike industry competitors, bingo companies and lottery providers are committed to the Gambling Industry Code for Socially Responsible Advertising.
That highlights a greater degree of societal awareness in comparison to rival gambling companies. The status of bingo and lottery firms is also somewhat different in the eyes of the government and regulators.
After all, the Gambling Act did not even officially classify bingo as gambling. More recently, the Gambling Commission defined it as a 'game of equal chance', the same as lotteries.
What that means in practical terms is that both of them are regarded as gambling, but distinct from skill and chance games such as poker and blackjack. The prize winnings in lotteries and bingo games are often spread between multiple players and anyone who buys a ticket has the exact same potential to be a winner.
Furthermore, both the payouts and the revenue from online bingo are lower than with other types of internet gambling. With talk of restoring gambling advertising bans this is something that could save bingo ads.
Figures for last year show that online bingo produced a turnover of £98.1 million, whereas for online casino it was £1.9 billion. With the sums involved being much lower, bingo continues to be viewed by the Government and industry regulators as a cheaper and lower risk kind of gaming.
Because the amounts of money that bingo players spend at the sites are lower, the belief is that online bingo providers have less reason to engage in irresponsible profit seeking. The casino and sports betting industries have been rocked by damaging reports like the 'VIP scheme' one that saw financially vulnerable individuals targeted with high bonus promises if they signed up for risky VIP programmes.
No such scandals have occurred within the online bingo world, suggesting a more sober and responsible approach.
Bingo is deemed to be a cheaper and lower risk gambling game, just like the lottery.
Bingo BenefitsBingo is also viewed as having a number of beneficial aspects that make it different from other types of gambling. The social part of the game means it can help prevent loneliness and isolation among players.
People also organise bingo events to raise money for charities, which is not really the case with any other kind of betting activity. That furthers the general view of bingo as unique and helps account for its distinct television advertising status.
The power of advertising on commercial television cannot be underestimated, with all gambling providers keen to make use of it. There are clear reasons why bingo companies have greater advertising freedom than their rivals though.