UK Labour Party To Restrict Gambling Ads If Elected


The UK Labour Party has announced that it will ban gambling advertising if it is successful in forming the next government.

This would include a ban on betting adverts while live sports are being shown and on using credit cards to place bets.

Labour’s Plans For Gambling

Tom Watson is the Deputy Leader of Labour and he commented that problem gambling has reached epidemic proportions in the UK and should be looked on as “a public health emergency”.

He added: “Current gambling regulation is not up to the job of protecting addicts and those at risk of addiction.

Gambling companies have to take more responsibility for harm caused by their products and contribute more to research and treatment.

We must also face up to the negative effect the explosion in gambling advertising has had and act accordingly. It’s what any responsible government looking to address gambling addiction must do.

The Labour Party has indicated that it would overhaul gambling regulations and advertising, which would include:

  • A ban on advertising gambling while live sport is being screened, which would apply from the starting whistle to the very end of matches.
  • A new compulsory tax on gambling providers amounting to 1% of their gross gambling yield.
  • Launching new medical guidelines and increasing available resources for treating gambling addictions.
  • Plans for addicts to enable their banks to prevent online gambling transactions.
  • A ban on betting and gambling using credit cards.

All of these gambling policies will be included within the next Labour Manifesto.

Gambling Adverts

Stephen Woodford is the Chief Executive of the Advertising Association and has serious concerns about some of Labour’s proposals.

He commented that the 2017 review of gambling advertising by The Gambling Commission had set clear guidelines on the way forward.

He said: “The proposed ‘Whistle To Whistle’ ban goes against the findings and would have a damaging economic effect on our UK commercial media landscape, as well as make watching live sport more expensive and less accessible for the UK public.

He went on to add that the advertising industry recognise that gambling adverts should be consistently monitored and that effort should be put into public education campaigns to ensure consumers recognise their own social responsibilities.

But he said: “Ultimately, gambling operators should be allowed, within a framework of responsibility, to advertise freely – the funding from these businesses contributes greatly to the high-quality sports programming enjoyed by millions of viewers across the UK.

ITV was strongly criticised during the recent World Cup for the huge amount of gambling and betting adverts screened.

Around 17% of all associated advertising breaks screened about one minute of gambling-related adverts for every six minutes of advertising.

Online Impact

Research from Gamble Aware earlier in 2018 has already highlighted that online casinos have spent a total of £1.4bn on marketing alone since 2012, which is a 97% increase in gambling advertising spend.

Because of this, online casinos and gambling providers will perhaps be hit harder by any regulations that ban advertising.

Many bookmakers and providers that previously relied on profits from fixed odds betting terminals (FOBTs) have already switched to online activities due to swingeing regulations already introduced.

These providers now rely on their digital income, as research has shown that 20% of UK adults gamble online on a regular basis.