Gambling: Advertising

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

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Photo of Thelma Walker Thelma Walker Labour, Colne Valley

To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps his Department is taking to restrict TV advertising relating to the gambling industry.

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, or exploit vulnerable 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.

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.

The Industry Group for Responsible Gambling has announced that it will extend its commitment not to advertise on TV before 9pm to include advertising during sporting events. It has announced that the changes are expected to come into effect in summer. Its industry-wide code for socially responsible advertising also requires all TV adverts to feature a responsible gambling message for the duration of the advert. Separately, Sky will 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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