MPs call for total ban on TV and online gambling ads

Report to be issued tomorrow will include strict recommendations.

Gambling: some brands are not advertising on TV and radio during pandemic (Getty Images)
Gambling: some brands are not advertising on TV and radio during pandemic (Getty Images)

A full ban on gambling ads on TV and online has been proposed by a group of cross-party MPs and peers who are to release a report tomorrow calling for tighter measures on the betting industry.

The Guardian reports that the MPs have spent a year gathering information for their recommendations, which include controls on gaming designs, an end to VIP schemes, affordability checks and a £2 limit on online slot machines.

The group is led by Labour MP Carolyn Harris, alongside Conservative MP Iain Duncan Smith and Scottish National Party MP Ronnie Cowan. Harris told The Guardian that self-regulation has not worked and "urgent change is needed to to stop this industry riding roughshod over people’s lives".

Gambling brands including Paddy Power, Betfair, Ladbrokes Coral Group and Bet365 have currently agreed to pull ads across TV and radio during the Covid-19 pandemic after pressure from MPs. The voluntary measure took effect from 7 May for a minimum of six weeks – a period that ends on Thursday (18 June). 

However, Campaign reported that paid ad impressions for casino and gambling ads almost tripled in April in the UK.

Both betting brands and media owners have made voluntary moves to restrict gambling advertising in recent years in an effort to be on the front foot ahead of plans for government regulation such as that proposed by the group of MPs. 

Last year, the gambling industry took a voluntary move not to run ads during live sports on TV before 9pm. Around the same time, Sky introduced a policy of showing no more than one gambling spot in any given ad break.

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