Last week a new set of rules were introduced, banning gambling and betting businesses to hire top-tier football stars, celebrities, and sports personalities to participate in their advertising campaigns. The new rules were introduced to ensure better protection for underage individuals as well as vulnerable players.
In other gambling-related news in the UK, last week, the shares of gambling company 888 surged after it became clear it will pay less to obtain William Hill’s non-US assets. On Thursday, Caesars Entertainment, the current owner of all William Hill’s assets, stated that the new lower price for the international divisions of the company is due to the changes in the economic and regulatory conditions.
Gambling Ads With Popular Sports Stars and Celebrities to be Banned in the UK
Last week, new rules were introduced to help reduce the harm to individuals who are under the legal gambling age of 18 as well as people who belong to vulnerable groups. The recently introduced rules banned gambling and betting operators from using famous footballers, celebrities, or other popular sports personalities to advertise their businesses.
The new set of rules was introduced by the authority governing the UK code for advertising. The ban on using popular celebrities for gambling marketing would also mean that even old advertisements that feature top-tier footballers and sports stars like Michael Owen, Harry Redknapp, Christiano Ronaldo and many more will not be aired on TV or spread by any other type of media in the UK.
A ban on showing certain teams’ stadiums or football kits in advertisements is also a part of the new rules. Gambling marketing will also not be allowed to use video games or other types of gameplay to promote gambling among those who are underaged.
Shahriar Coupla, director of the Committee of Advertising Practice, ensured that there will be no more gambling advertisements using the faces of high-profile sports celebrities, footballers, influencers, or other types of people that are popular among children.
The current rules are vaguer, banning advertisements only if they seem more appealing to underage individuals rather than to adults. The new set of rules, however, will ban any advertisements that seem to be extremely appealing to children or young individuals, especially if the advertisement material is somewhat related to “youth culture”.
The new rules are expected to be implemented in October, with the World Cup in Qatar being scheduled to happen the following month. This is no coincidence as the major football event is often something on which gambling and betting companies tend to spend a fortune to promote.
The new rules tend to ensure better protection for young and vulnerable individuals as they can be influenced to gamble if they often see advertisements featuring their favourite celebrities or sports stars. The Advertising Standards Authority reported, however, that the new rules would not be able to regulate the sector of team sponsors.
The new ban will apply to advertisements broadcast on TV, radio stations, or cinemas. In addition, such ads will also be banned to be distributed online, in newspapers, or via posters and billboards.
888 Will Pay Less to Acquire William Hill’s International Assets
Last week, Caesars Palace, which is the US-based company that has acquired William Hill, announced that it will lower the cost of obtaining William Hill’s international assets. The news had the shares of 888, the company that plans to acquire the said assets, surge almost 30%.
Back in September, the current owner of William Hill, Caesars Palace, agreed to sell the bookmaker’s non-US assets to the London-based company 888. The original agreement was for £2.2 billion. According to the latest agreement between the two companies, however, the new enterprise value of William Hill’s international assets ranged between £1.95 billion and £2.05 billion.
Following the new evaluation, it was estimated that 888 would have to pay a consideration of roughly £585 million. This marked almost a 30% drop in the sum of £834.9 million that the two companies had previously agreed on.
Currently, William Hill is being reviewed by the UK Gambling Commission and is taking responsibility for points made on its social responsibility and anti-money laundering actions. This review is happening while the UK gambling industry is struggling with increasing inflation.
According to a statement made by 888, the funds it will need to raise for the upcoming acquisition are reduced to £136 million. This is significantly lower than the original plan of raising around £500 million. The final stage of the acquisition of the international William Hill assets is expected to be realised by June 2022.