The Gambling Commission will meet senior executives at Channel 4 in the next few days to discuss concerns that its hit teatime gameshow Deal or No Deal may constitute gambling.
To be banned? I'll give you evens it survives...The commission is due to publish new advice on the implications of the Gambling Act for broadcasters and producers next month.It is understood to have particular concerns about the Noel Edmonds gameshow, which broadcast for the first time on Channel 4 in 2005.
Deal or No Deal could be breaking the law because the format, which features 22 different boxes containing various amounts of money from 1p up to £250,000, does not involve an element of skill.Non-skill games played for profit require a gambling licence.Sir Peter Bazalgette, the former chief creative officer of Deal or No Deal producer Endemol, which also makes Big Brother, said it could have wide-ranging implications for the TV industry if the Channel 4 show was classified as gambling.He said it could impact on any gameshow including an element of luck."This could be an operation of the law of unintended consequences," said Bazalgette, who was responsible for persuading Noel Edmonds to take the presenter's role on the show, which is closing in on its 2,000th edition."Whatever the letter of the law in regard to television entertainment the sensible position here is that with Deal or No Deal you have a gameshow that has been on air in more than 50 countries around the world. In some of those territories gambling is illegal, but the gameshow is still allowed on TV," he said."It would be very strange if the UK suddenly decided you couldn't have Deal or No Deal on air."The commission is also understood to be looking at ITV's big-money gameshow, Red or Black, produced by Simon Cowell and presented by Ant and Dec, which the broadcaster announced on Monday had been commissioned for a second series.ITV revealed a number of changes to the format for the second series including stressing that the gameshow requires contestants to "use their judgment and skill" - as opposed to relying on luck - and that they will have "more control over their own destinies".The broadcaster has also piloted a revamp of Bruce Forsyth's Play Your Cards Right, presented by Vernon Kay.Bazalgette added: "Play Your Cards Right was a show for many years on ITV. Could that be revived?"What we need is a sensible outcome. Common sense needs to reassert itself. Television that is not doing anybody any harm should be allowed to continue."The Gambling Commission's guidance note next month is expected to draw broadcasters and programme-makers' attention to the law in relation to gambling and help them understand it.If Deal or Deal was classified as a gambling programme it would not necessarily have to move to a post-watershed slot, however. Horse racing is broadcast during the day, for instance.Media regulator Ofcom's Broadcasting Code does not say anything specific about gambling.A spokesman for the Gambling Commission said it did not comment on individual cases.A Channel 4 spokeswoman said: "Channel 4 has been contacted by the Gambling Commission about the popular long running series Deal Or No Deal, but it would not be appropriate to comment further at this time."