Online Gambling.

Gambling, with the rise of the betting app has taken off in recent years. Between 2008 and 2017 the amount gambling firms won from customers grew by approximately £5bn. [1] Currently reaching the heady high (at last measurement) of £13.9bn. [2]
As the pounds pour in, the marketing budgets grow.
Most of you will have seen the ads.
From Paddy Power’s laddish, tongue-firmly-in-cheek and often controversial humour to Bet 365’s Ray Winstone ads (we still can’t tell if the latter are supposed to be ironic or not).

[Just one of Paddy Power’s headline stirring ads centred around bets for Sepp Blatter’s resignation from FIFA.]


[Ray Winstone and Ray Winstone’s enormous head in a Bet365 advert.]

And with the adverts has come a clampdown, or at least, an outcry for one, on the way these ads are deployed.
Paddy Power have been criticised (amongst others) for the ‘normalisation’ of gambling with its adverts showing people gambling at work, for example. [3]
However, with the increased scrutiny, have come some efforts to do some real good with their popularity, and maybe reposition themselves as the gambling company that cares at the same time.
Their recent World Cup campaign, for example, demonstrated their willingness to speak out for an important cause. Tackling the politicised homophobia in Russia by advertising their promise to donate £10,000 for every Russian goal scored at the tournament to charities and organisations ‘dedicated to making football more LGBT+ inclusive’. [4]

[Paddy Power’s LGBT+ campaign, making a pointed nod towards the target of their equal parts humourous and important message.]


The Clampdown

There has been a watershed ban on televised gambling adverts for a time to avoid the risk of introducing young people to gambling and to relegate the adverts to spots that remain competitive and out of sight for many.
A tactic that, on its own, doesn’t seem to have worked thus far with numbers of over 16s addicted to gambling rising by a third in the last three years. In 2017 it was reported that more than 2 million people are either ‘problem gamblers or at risk of addiction’ in the UK. [5]
One reason for this could be the fact that betting companies are still permitted to advertise during sporting events (regardless of the hour). A loophole that companies are keen to exploit as these events tie in nicely with their defined target audience.
These findings have lead ministers to call for a suppression of this rule and to impose strict regulations such as requiring all adverts to feature health warnings about the risk of gambling addiction.
It’s all a little bit tense.


Lotteries have picked up on this and are somewhat removed already from the scrutiny placed upon online gambling sites.
Despite some belief that they contribute to the problem, studies have found that entities like lottery and bingo have a comparatively tiny percentage of at-risk players compared to online gambling services. [6]
Even so, there is a percentage.
That may explain why providers like the National Lottery are angling away from the ‘gambling’ feel of their branding.
Where once it was all about the BIG win and fancy lifestyles more emphasis is now placed on the charitable efforts of the lottery.
And rightly so – since 1995 more than £38 billion of lottery funding has been channeled into everything from charities and education to art programs, health and sport. [7] It’s a number that can’t be denied and immediately sets the National Lottery aside from uber-profitable gambling companies.
Lotteries can be a powerful tool for individual charities too. They help incentivise donations with the dual attraction of both supporting a worthy cause and gaining a chance to win a cash prize. It’s a worthy effort that many charities employ. In the most recent findings from the Gambling Commission, they found that these ‘society lotteries’ had produced £251 million in donation to good causes. [8]

New Direction for Camelot

The National Lottery is taking their positioning a step further from the world of online gambling focussing less on private islands, yachts, champagne and diamonds and more on grounded, real-world financial security and family; appealing to the very real dreams of those who play the lottery.
The head of marketing at Camelot, who run the National Lottery, Hayley Stringfellow was quoted as saying “When I’ve talked to winners, it struck me that the first thing most people do is to secure their homes and homes for their family. It’s about the basics of security…” [9]
And so that’s what they’ve run with:
With the creative efforts of Adam & Eve/DDB behind the new campaign we’ll see a host of adverts that position Camelot and the National Lottery as a more self-aware, grounded organisation. Aiming to prove to customers that it knows what a win means to them, it’s not just about the money, it’s the security, the freedom that the money brings.
Importantly, in her interview with Campaign about the new advert, Stringfellow made an impassioned statement about their new direction “We need every player to know that they can win – it’s not a bet. The National Lottery is a different thing; it’s a force for good in the whole country. We will not behave in the same way as betting companies. We will make sure we keep our players safe.”

The Future

Lottery and gambling seem to be polarising further than ever before, particularly in the sphere of advertising and branding.
We’ll be interested to see how the efforts of ministers affects the marketing strategy of the gambling companies moving forward, particularly when companies such as the National Lottery are taking such a firm stance in the opposite direction in an effort to distance themselves from the furore.