Industry attacks gambling ad plans

The advertising industry has criticised the Government's plans for lifting the strict controls over campaigns to promote gambling.

While welcoming the Draft Gambling Bill in principle, the Advertising Association has warned that advertisers would face "double jeopardy" under the proposed new regime for controlling activities such as casinos, betting and bingo. They would be regulated by a new Gambling Commission on technical gambling rules and the Advertising Standards Authority and Ofcom for matters such as misleading ads.

The AA told MPs and peers scrutinising the legislation: "We appreciate the Government's concern that there should be the highest level of consumer protection, but we believe that, in the long term, this is an inherently unsatisfactory situation in which both licensees and advertisers would have to look and comply with the codes of different regulators."

It suggested that regulation be handled by the ASA, with the commission acting as the "backstop". The commission could draw up rules that could be incorporated into the Committee of Advertising Practice's code, it said.

A "single complaints letterbox" would be best for punters as well as the ad industry.

The AA opposed the Government's suggestion of "health warnings" on ads for gambling products, saying the public would discount them.

The committee discussing the Bill questioned, among others, Andrew Brown, the AA's director-general, and Jim Rothwell, its public affairs and press officer.

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