Study shows how gambling-related ads are saturating soccer coverage

By our News Team | 2023

Worryingly, researchers find that 92% of content marketing ads served during one EPL weekend breached key advertising regulations.

Research has revealed how gambling messages saturate UK media coverage and social media during the English Premier League soccer season.


The rapid assessment was carried out by the University of Bristol in collaboration with Channel 5, a free-to-air public broadcast television channel, on the opening weekend of the new season in August.

Marketing Ethics

Photo by Dan Kerins via Wikimedia Commons

Key findings were:


  • A total of 10,999 gambling messages were identified during the weekend across various media channels.
  • 6,966 gambling messages were recorded during the six live match broadcasts.
  • 92% out of 391 content marketing ads sent by major gambling brands were not clearly identifiable as advertising, therefore breaching a key UK advertising regulation.
  • Less than a quarter (20.6%) included gambling harm-reduction messages and only 18.7% featured age warnings. Most, therefore, had no warnings of gambling’s potential harm. 
  • There was at least one gambling ad during any commercial break on TalkSport Radio and 600 gambling messages during two hours of Sky Sports News.
  • 1,902 gambling ads on social media generating a total of 34-million impressions (the number of times an advert was seen).


“Our research shows gambling marketing during Premier League weekends is inescapable. Football fans are bombarded with gambling marketing through various channels, making it a normal part of football consumption,” says co-lead researcher Dr Raffaello Rossi, a lecturer in marketing at the University of Bristol Business School.


“Our study highlights a serious issue with social media gambling marketing, especially content marketing. 


Consumer-protection regulations must be strengthened


“A staggering 92% of content marketing ads are not clearly identifiable as advertising, breaching key advertising regulations. We urgently need to strengthen those regulations to protect consumers, in particular children, who are especially vulnerable to sneaky advertising.”


Across all media channels examined, the study identified a total of 10,999 gambling messages. This high figure illustrates the persistence of gambling marketing during this period, which translates to an average of 2,750 messages per day, or 115 messages every hour.


“Self-regulation of the gambling industry is completely failing. The gambling industry’s primary goal is profit, not public welfare. So, of course they will not implement measures that actually reduce gambling and their profits,” Dr Raffaello Rossi says.


“This is why the UK Government has to fulfil its duty and start protecting people from predatory and excessive gambling marketing.”

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    Dr Kin Kariisa

    Group CEO - Next Media

    Dr. Kin Kariisa is an extraordinary force at the helm of Next Media Services, a conglomerate encompassing NBS TV, Nile Post, Sanyuka TV, Next Radio, Salam TV, Next Communication, Next Productions, and an array of other influential enterprises. His dynamic role as Chief Executive Officer exemplifies his unwavering commitment to shaping media, business, and community landscapes.
    With an esteemed academic journey, Dr. Kariisa’s accolades include an Honorary PhD in exemplary community service from the United Graduate College inTexas, an MBA from United States International University in Nairobi, Kenya, a Master’s degree in Computer Engineering from Huazong University in China, and a Bachelor’s degree in Statistics from Makerere University.
    Dr. Kariisa pursued PhD research in Computer Security and Identity Management at Security of Systems Group, Radboud University in Nijmegen, Netherlands. As a dynamic educator, he has shared his expertise as a lecturer of e-Government and Information Security at both Makerere University and Radboud University.

    Dr Kin did his PhD research in Computer Security and Identity Management at Security of Systems Group, Radbond University in Nigmegen, Netherlands. He previously served as a lecturer of e-Government and Information Security at Makerere University in Kampala, Uganda and Radbond University in Netherlands.

    Dr Kin did his postgraduate courses in Strategic Business Management, Strategic Leadership Communication and Strategies for Leading Successful Change Initiatives at Harvard University, Boston USA.

    • Other current and previous roles played by Dr Kin Kariisa:
    • Lecturer of e-Government and Information Security to graduate students at Makerere University, Kampala and Radbond University in the Netherlands
    • Director of Eco Bank Uganda Limited, one of the largest banks in Africa
    • Chairman of the National Association of Broadcasters, an umbrella industry association for all Television, Radio and online broadcasters in Uganda.
    • Chairman of Board of Directors of Nile Hotel International, that owns the leading hotel in Uganda, Kampala Serena Hotel.
    • Chairman of Board of Directors of Soliton Telmec Uganda, the leading telecom company in Optic fibre business managing over 80% of optic fibre in Uganda.