Online iGaming operators in the United Kingdom are quickly shifting their focus from television adverts to Internet marketing campaigns, with the segment growing exponentially while regulation tightens.
Marketing for Online Campaigns Grow among UK Operators
Estimated 50% of the total spending dedicated to marketing was invested in online advertisement, a new study provided by Regulus Partners, revealed. UK operators spent £1.56 billion cumulatively between 2014 and 2017, the report said, with half of the money going directly to online advertisement campaigns.
In 2017 alone, the segment has seen a strong jump in investment, with £747 million going directly into banners and other forms of Internet advertisement, a considerable increase since 2014, when the funds allocated in the sector were just £400 million.
TV commercials featuring sports betting and gambling ads have long been targeted by regulators, social activists and charities, but they may soon constitute just a modest share of the total number of ads reaching potential customers. While the amount invested increased to £234 million from £155 in 2014, it’s clear that companies are now re-focusing their efforts into the online segment.
This in turn will pose new challenges with spending to curb gambling ads on TV continuing to surpass the amount that operators invest to broadcast their ads. Meanwhile, sponsorships have been growing, with operators tying up partnerships with sporting bodies for the amount total of £60 million as of 2017. In comparison, the investment in 2014 was £30.
The shift in interest is quite easy to spot, particularly with bookmakers and iGaming operators withdrawing from offline advertisement sector, as it’s one of the least profitable ones for them. Investment in the sector fell to £70 million by 2017, the Regulus report revealed.
To make sure that the report is up to the required standards, Regulus tapped into reliable sources, such as audited accounts and financial data for the entire period.
The report was also an opportunity for GambleAware CEO Marc Etches to highlight one of his own fears, the involvement of underage gamers into the activity.
Children are growing up in a very different world than their parents. […] The Regulus analysis shows that much more attention needs to be paid to the extent of gambling-related marketing online, and that internet companies and social media platforms must share in the responsibility to protect children, and to generally raise awareness of the nature of gambling, associated risks of harm, and where to go for help and advice if it is needed. – Gamble Aware CEO
Mr. Etches pointed out to concerns regarding the recent report published by the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC), 59% of children aged between 11-16 had placed a wager in the week before they were interviewed.
In addition, the report revealed that 50,000 more young gamers had placed a wager since 2017, indicating a spreading trend. With concerns now being raised over underage gambling, charities may need to stop worrying about TV ads and look into ways of making sure that children grow in an environment that is safe from dangerous gambling temptations.
This will certainly require a dialogue with bookmakers and iGaming operators.