Govt draws up code for gambling TV ads

The Department of Culture, Media and Sport is drawing up a code to govern TV ads for the gambling industry.

The culture secretary, Tessa Jowell, recently proposed rules for the industry to promote "socially responsible gambling". Her department is now in consultation with the Gambling Commission and the Broadcast Committee of Advertising Practice, ahead of the Gambling Act coming into force in September 2007.

The Government is lifting its ban on broadcast advertising for gambling next year. However, the government ruling might mean future ads by casinos, betting shops and internet poker sites have to carry warnings about the dangers of gambling.

Gambling and casino commercials are currently banned from broadcast media.

The code for non-broadcast advertising prohibits gambling ads directed at people under 18 and states that no gamb-ling marketing communication may encourage excessive gambling.

In the face of protests, the Government shelved plans for eight super-casinos and is now only allowing one. It is considering whether to allow more in the future.

Britons gambled £50 billion last year, an average of more than £800 per person. This was a sevenfold increase on the total gambled in 2001.