Gambling: Advertising

Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport written question – answered on 16th September 2020.

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Photo of Carolyn Harris Carolyn Harris Labour, Swansea East

To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what sanctions are in place for gambling operators that breach age-restricted advertising rules.

Photo of Carolyn Harris Carolyn Harris Labour, Swansea East

To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what recent assessment he has made of the potential merits of banning gambling advertising.

Photo of Nigel Huddleston Nigel Huddleston Assistant Whip, The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport

Gambling companies that advertise to British consumers must abide by strict rules on the content and placement of ads, including that they must never be targeted at children or vulnerable people. The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) is the UK’s regulator for advertising and where it finds an ad to be in breach of its codes it will require the ad be amended or removed. If an advertiser fails to act on this warning, the ASA has a range of sanctions it can take, including Ad Alerts to the media, withdrawal of trading privileges, and mandatory pre-vetting. The ASA’s authority is underpinned in regulation of broadcast advertising by a statutory relationship with Ofcom and the Gambling Commission’s licence conditions and codes of practice require operators to comply with the advertising codes for all forms of gambling advertising. Serious and repeated breaches of the codes may lead to an operator being referred by the ASA to the Gambling Commission, which has the power to suspend or revoke licences and issue financial penalties.

The Government assessed the evidence on advertising in its Review of Gaming Machines and Social Responsibility Measures, the full response to which can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/consultation-on-proposals-for-changes-to-gaming-machines-and-social-responsibility-measures. We continue to keep emerging evidence under review.

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