Culture Secretary warns: 'My children can recite just about every gambling ad there is'

Culture secretary Karen Bradley says she wants to investigate the effect of gambling ads on TV because "my children can recite just about every gambling advert that there is".

Karen Bradley: culture secretary appeared before MPs today (Credit: House of Commons)
Karen Bradley: culture secretary appeared before MPs today (Credit: House of Commons)

Bradley signaled her alarm about the scale of gambling and betting ads on TV when she included a review of such advertising to be part part of a wider look at fixed-odds betting terminals and other gaming machines.

The addition of gambling ads to be reviewed was announced today but had been expected after the government's intentions were reported earlier this month. 

The culture secretary, who succeeded John Whittingdale in July after Theresa May became prime minister, said there was "a lot of concern about the way gambling operates" and wants the review to gather "the evidence and the facts about the situation".

During Bradley's appeared before the House of Commons culture committee, the committe chairman Damian Collins asked Bradley why she had included a review of TV gambling advertising within the wider review.

"Most of the terms of reference in the review seem to be around access to machines and stakes and prizes," he told Bradley. "The piece on advertising seems to be a bit bolted-on, especially when most gambling advertising tends to be about in-game betting, rather than being linked to machines on the high street."

Bradley said: "It’s part of looking at the whole situation in regards to gambling and its impact on the vulnerable and young people."

"I think probably all of us have watched football or other sporting activities and I know my children can recite just about every gambling advert that there is because they sit and watch a news channel that is 24-hour sports, they watch TV programmes with sports on, and they hear those adverts.

"I am interested as a parent and I’m also interested as a secretary of state in understanding what the impacts are on young people of that advertising."

Sky Sports’ football and cricket programming and Channel 4’s horse-racing coverage carry significant amounts of gambling advertising. ITV has poached the horse-racing rights, starting in January 2017.

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