To ask the Minister of State, Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what recent discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care on the potential effect of targeted advertisements for online gambling sites on gambling addiction rates; and if he will take steps to ban such advertisements.
Ministers and officials of the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport work closely with their counterparts in the Department for Health and Social Care on the issue of problem gambling. The Health Secretary has announced that a cross-government addiction strategy, which will include gambling, is to be published in 2020 and the two departments are collaborating on this.
Gambling operators who advertise to a UK audience have to comply with the advertising codes of practice issued by the Broadcast Committee of Advertising Practice (BCAP) and the Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP), which are enforced by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA). The codes apply across all advertising platforms, including broadcast, online and social media. A wide range of provisions in the codes are designed to protect children and vulnerable adults from harm. For example, gambling adverts must not target children or portray, condone or encourage gambling behaviour that is socially irresponsible.
Last year the government announced its intention to review how online advertising is regulated in the UK, looking at how well the current regime is equipped to tackle the challenges posed by developments in online advertising. The announcement can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/jeremy-wrights-statement-on-the-cairncross-review. Further details of the review will be published shortly.