MPs block plans to relax law governing bingo industry ads

By Our Parliamentary Correspondent,, Friday, 28 February 1997 12:00AM

MPs have blocked Government plans to lift the advertising ban currently imposed on the bingo industry.

MPs have blocked Government plans to lift the advertising ban

currently imposed on the bingo industry.

In a surprise move, a Tory-dominated Commons committee has rebuked the

Home Office over proposals to allow television, radio, cinema and print

advertising for bingo.

The committee, which is worried that ads might encourage young people to

gamble, said the plans should be put on hold while the Gaming Board

draws up guidance for the industry on the type of cinema and print ads

that would be acceptable.

The Government is likely to accept the recommendation, which means that

a shake-up in the gaming law won’t go ahead before the general


It could be abandoned if Labour wins power.

MPs on the committee said the Home Office ’appears not to have given

much consideration to cinema advertising,’ even though it could be an

attractive medium for bingo operators. The operators told the committee

they were unlikely to make much use of TV on cost grounds. They were

interested in satellite TV, local radio, the press and the Internet.

The MPs took a sideswipe at the Advertising Standards Authority,

expressing surprise that it had not updated its code to take account of

ads for the National Lottery and the football pools. They were worried

that the code did not address ’the need to protect children, to

discourage excessive gambling in general and to prevent gambling being

seen as a way out of financial difficulties.’

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