Ofcom, the independent communications regulator and competition authority in the UK, has revealed audience research into gambling advertising on UK television. The results show some tremendous growth since 2007, the year that the Parliament liberalised gambling commercials. The numbers look at the volume, frequency, exposure and scheduling, while all figures are based on BARB viewing data. BARB, broadcast audience research board, is the official source of television viewing figures in the UK.

BARB categorized gambling adverts into four sectors: bingo, online casino and poker services, sports betting and lotteries and scratch cards. The research discovered that while back in 2006 there were a total of 156,000 gambling spots on TV, that figure climbed to 537,000 in 2008 and last year soared to a total of 1.39 million. Of all the television adverts in 2012, bingo commanded the lion’s share, screening 532,000 commercials and it was followed closely by online casino and poker services commercials that featured 411,000 times. Lotteries and scratch cards had a total of 355,000 spots, while sports betting commercials were featured just 91,000.

The breakdown in terms of shares for each of these sectors in 2012 was as follows: bingo had the lion’s share at 38.3%, online casino and poker services stood at 29.6%, lotteries and scratch cards had 25.6% and sports betting represented 6.6%.

The research discovered that gambling commercials had more impact on adults over the course of six years. Back in 2006 there were 8 million impacts, but that number had increased significantly in 2012 as it has reached 30.9 billion impacts. Ofcom does point out that during this time period the number of digital TV channels has also increased.