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.’