Gambling: Children

Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport written question – answered on 15th January 2019.

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Photo of Rosena Allin-Khan Rosena Allin-Khan Shadow Minister (Digital, Culture, Media and Sport) (Sport)

To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps his Department is taking to limit children’s exposure to gambling adverts during sporting events.

Photo of Mims Davies Mims Davies Assistant Whip (HM Treasury), The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport

There are strict controls on the content of all gambling advertisements, including broadcast adverts and online. Gambling operators who advertise in the UK must comply with the advertising codes, which aim to ensure gambling advertising does not target or appeal particularly to children or young people. TV adverts must be pre-cleared by Clearcast and the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) acts on complaints and proactively checks the media to take action against misleading, harmful or offensive advertisements. The Gambling Industry Code for Socially Responsible Advertising requires all TV and print adverts to carry an 18+ or ‘no under 18s’ message.

As with advertising, sponsorship arrangements must be socially responsible and must never be targeted at children. Operators’ logos must not appear on any commercial merchandising which is designed for children, including replica football shirts in children’s sizes.

Our Review of Gaming Machines and Social Responsibility Measures set out a package of measures to strengthen protections further. These include tougher guidance from the Committees of Advertising Practice (CAP) on protecting vulnerable people, with further guidance on children and young people due soon, tougher sanctions for operators who breach advertising codes and a multi-million pound safer gambling advertising campaign, which will include responsible gambling messages around sports.

The gambling industry and broadcasters have announced additional initiatives to limit the advertising seen around sport. The Industry Group for Responsible Gambling will amend its advertising code to include a ‘whistle-to-whistle’ ban on all TV betting adverts during pre-watershed live sport, including for 5 minutes before and after play. It has announced that the changes are expected to come into effect in summer. Sky will also offer customers the option to opt out of TV gambling adverts from 2020. These are welcome steps by industry to respond to public concerns, and it is important that all those who benefit from gambling advertising think about how they can be socially responsible. We will continue to monitor issues around advertising and consider any new evidence carefully.

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