Government reassures over gambling ads

The Government has moved to reassure church leaders and MPs that new rules allowing casinos, betting shops and online gambling to advertise will not result in an explosion of gambling by young people.

Richard Caborn, the culture minister, said the Government would tighten the code published this week by the Committee of Advertising Practice and Broadcast Committee of Advertising Practice if it did not prove tough enough.

Under the rules, ads must not link gambling to seduction, sexual success or enhanced attractiveness, be irresponsible, lead to "financial, social or emotional harm" or suggest gambling can improve self-image or self-esteem. TV and radio ads will not be allowed during and around programmes aimed at under-18s.

"We are not complacent and will monitor the impact of the new rules. If they are insufficient to ensure proper public protection, the Government will consider using its additional powers to impose further restrictions," Caborn said.

A Church of England spokesman said: "As any gambling ad must present positive reasons or inducements to engage in the activity, it is hard to see how vulnerable persons can be protected totally from these effects."