rom June, all transactional gambling on TV that invites viewers to pay money to take part in gaming or betting will be treated as teleshopping content, replacing the existing system under which transactional gaming could be treated as either teleshopping or editorial content.
Reclassified as teleshopping, transactional gaming programmes will be allowed to air through the night on Public Service Broadcast channels (PBS) such as ITV, Channel 4 and Channel 5.
The reclassification will see an increase in the number of hours of transactional gaming programmes on TV in Great Britain, but will also mean that no such programming can be broadcast before midnight.
Ofcom said the changes would result in improved consumer protection, as the Advertising Code under which teleshopping is regulated contains specific rules that, among other things, prevent gambling being aimed at young people and prevent the use of misleading claims in teleshopping broadcasts.
Opponents argue that the new regulation will give people greater access to gambling and for longer periods, which could result in irresponsible gambling behaviour from the general viewing public.
However Ofcom has rejected this claim, pointing out that transactional gambling has been available to PSB channels for a number of years, during which time it was treated as conventional programming, offering less consumer protection. As a result of these changes, the PSB channels will no longer have the option to show transactional gambling until after midnight, thereby minimizing exposure to young people.
Furthermore, previous programming of this type by non-UK European companies or those in white-listed jurisdictions fell outside the control of the Gambling Commission and the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA).
Reclassified as teleshopping, such programming now falls under the control of the ASA, where specific rules regarding gambling advertising are already in place and aligned with the objectives of the Gambling Commission.