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Michaela Jefferson 

Sky to enable viewers to block gambling ads using Adsmart

Sky to enable viewers to block gambling ads using Adsmart

Sky has today announced plans to develop its Adsmart technology to enable people to block gambling adverts from June 2020.

The option to block the ads will be available across over 140 channels on Sky and Virgin Media TV platforms, including Sky Sports.

Sky has also announced plans to limit the number of gambling adverts it broadcasts to one per commercial break - including during live sport - as of the start of the next Premier League season.

"Our customers are worried about gambling ads on TV - and we understand their concerns. That's why we've committed to limiting the amount of gambling ads on Sky and better protecting those vulnerable to problem gambling," said Stephen van Rooyen, CEO UK & Ireland, Sky.

“Thanks to regulation TV has long been a safe space, and these changes will make it even safer. But there is still a real danger online – and there will be until online platforms are regulated as tightly as TV”

Meanwhile, Helen Undy, director of the Money and Mental Health Policy Institute, praised Sky's decision, as analysis from the institute has highlighted that those who are vulnerable to problem gambling are more likely to be influenced by its advertisement.

“This is a really welcome step from Sky to empower customers who struggle with gambling by enabling them to opt out of gambling ads, and will no doubt be popular among other people too. It adds to the momentum across industries to tackle problem gambling," Undy said.

The news follows calls from the Labour party in September for a ban on gambling advertising during live sporting events, with deputy leader Tom Watson branding problem gambling "a public health emergency."

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