Labour Party calls for crackdown on gambling advertising

Labour calls for gambling ad ban

The Labour Party has revealed its plan to ban gambling advertising, including a ‘whistle to whistle’ ban on betting ads in live sport and a ban on the use of credit cards to bet.

Tom Watson MP, deputy leader of the Labour Party and shadow digital, culture, media and sport secretary, said problem gambling is Britain’s hidden epidemic and must be treated “as a public health emergency.”

“Current gambling regulation is not up to the job of protecting addicts and those at risk of addiction,” he said

“Gambling companies have to take more responsibility for harm caused by their products and contribute more to research and treatment. We must also face up to the negative effect the explosion in gambling advertising has had and act accordingly. It’s what any responsible government looking to address gambling addiction must do.”

It said the overhaul of gambling regulation and advertising would include:

  • A ‘whistle to whistle’ ban on gambling advertising in live sport
  • A compulsory levy on gambling operators of 1% of Gross Gambling Yield
  • New clinical guidelines and increased resources for the treatment of gambling addiction
  • New rules to allow addicts to tell their bank to stop online gambling transactions
  • A ban on credit card betting

The raft of new policies that will be in Labour’s next manifesto and will be enacted if Labour is voted into government.

However, Stephen Woodford, chief executive, Advertising Association was concerned by some aspects of the proposal. He pointed to The Gambling Commission’s findings in late 2017 which “drew a clear line” with regards gambling advertising following a review.

“The proposed ‘Whistle To Whistle’ ban goes against the findings and would have a damaging economic effect on our UK commercial media landscape, as well as make watching live sport more expensive and less accessible for the UK public,” said Woodford.

“Our industry recognises the gambling sector is one which requires close, consistent and effective monitoring, as well as a concerted effort through public education campaigns, to ensure a responsible role in society. Ultimately, gambling operators should be allowed, within a framework of responsibility, to advertise freely – the funding from these businesses contributes greatly to the high quality sports programming enjoyed by millions of viewers across the UK.”

Earlier this year, research from charity Gamble Aware, found that online casino houses have collectively spent £1.4bn on marketing since 2012, a 97% increase in gambling ad spend over the past five years.

During the World Cup, ITV was criticized for the volume of ads for betting companies. Analysts found that 17% of all advertising breaks were populated by gambling related ads, equivalent to one minute in every six.

Get The Drum Newsletter

Build your marketing knowledge by choosing from daily news bulletins or a weekly special.