By Matt Hughes For The Daily Mail
Published: 22:30 GMT, 14 January 2020 | Updated: 22:34 GMT, 14 January 2020
Television companies are facing criticism for rushing out gambling adverts in so-called ‘turbo ad breaks’ seconds after the 9pm watershed to exploit a loophole in the whistle-to-whistle ban on advertising during live matches.
This practice has become increasingly common since the ban was introduced last August, with a Betway advert shown on Sky Sports last Friday just 46 seconds after the watershed — and moments before the start of the broadcaster’s second-half coverage of Sheffield United’s win over West Ham.
Gambling companies are increasingly buying slots in the short breaks before the second half for matches that kick off at 8pm. These generally fall just after the 9pm watershed, enabling them to gain exposure without flouting the ban.
TV companies are facing criticism for rushing out gambling ads seconds after the watershed
The sought-after advertising space during live matches is generally bought months in advance, shortly after the televised games have been confirmed.
Sky Sports were twice forced to apologise at the start of the season for breaching the regulations, which were introduced on August 1, with adverts for Sky Bet and Bet365 erroneously broadcast in their coverage of a Premier League and Scottish Premier League game respectively.
The whistle-to-whistle ban, which was brought in voluntarily by the bookmakers last year, prevents them placing television adverts from five minutes before kick-off until five minutes after the final whistle — until the 9pm watershed.
Horseracing and greyhound racing are exempt