Calls from Labour to crack down on gambling advertisements

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Children are being exposed to too many gambling advertisements on the television and now, senior gambling industry personnel have agreed that there are concerns around the fact that children are being exposed to far too many gambling advertisements – which has resulted in the government being asked to act. Labour have called for the government to crack down on the number of ‘out of control’ gambling ads.

Recently, we reported on the number of EPL and Championship football teams increasing their links to gambling, but now, industry leaders are speaking out.

Worrying times

A previously sympathetic Philip Bowcock, chief executive of William Hill said; “Some sort of change is needed, but that has to be led by government. It’s incumbent on them to step up to the plate and have a serious discussion about it.”

Paddy Power and Betfair had something to say on the matter too; with Peter Jackson the chief executive agreeing that they were “supportive of further regulation, to reduce the volume of pre-watershed TV advertising to protect young children”.

In the UK, it is not uncommon to see gambling adverts during the day, as long as they are attached to live sporting events but, at the other end of the world in Australia, they have banned ads during sporting events and Italy goes one step further – by banning them completely!

Mr Jackson voiced his concerns on tougher limits on advertisements, saying it was; “difficult for the industry to do this on its own. Even if progressive operators agree to restrict ads, unless there’s legislation passed, less responsible operators step in and continue advertising.”

The chief executive of Hippodrome Casino in London, suggested that the government should err on the side of caution; “There are valid concerns with regard to the exposure of children to a high number of gambling adverts, particularly where they are linked to glamorous activities or high-profile role models such as Premiership footballers or professional cricketers, where children are concerned, we need to set a lower threshold of risk and be more prepared to employ the precautionary principle.”

Tom Watson, the deputy leader of the Labour party also voiced his concerns; “The gambling industry has rarely been united over issues of social responsibility – so when operators are openly admitting that the level of gambling advertising has become a problem, we have to take it seriously. Gambling advertising on sports fixtures in particular is out of control. International research suggests that children and young adults in particular are increasingly targeted and exposed to gambling messages.” Mr Watson suggested that the government had “avoided taking the action needed and continued to rely on out of date evidence”.

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) are conducting an investigation into whether some live odds betting promos, breach its code of practice.