Gambling: Advertising

Department for Culture, Media and Sport written question – answered at on 27 February 2024.

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Photo of Ronnie Cowan Ronnie Cowan Scottish National Party, Inverclyde

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment the Government has made of the adequacy of (a) voluntary and (b) self-regulatory efforts to limit the number of gambling advertisements.

Photo of Stuart Andrew Stuart Andrew Assistant Whip, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Culture, Media and Sport), Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade) (Minister for Equalities)

In our approach to gambling advertising, we have struck a balanced and evidence-led approach which tackles aggressive advertising that is most likely to appeal to children, while recognising that advertising is an entirely legitimate commercial practice for responsible gambling firms.

There are robust rules in place to ensure that gambling advertising is socially responsible and that it cannot be targeted at or strongly appeal to children. This includes specific licence conditions for operators, including the requirement to abide by the UK Advertising Codes, which further regulate how gambling operators advertise. The UK Advertising Codes were strengthened in 2022, with new protections for children and vulnerable adults.

Voluntary measures on advertising implemented through the IGRG Code (now in its 7th edition) include a watershed ban on gambling adverts and ensuring operators’ advertising on social media platforms is targeted away from anyone below the age of 25.

We also welcomed the voluntary whistle-to-whistle ban on TV betting ads during live sports programmes, which was agreed by industry. According to figures from the Betting and Gaming Council, the ban reduced gambling advertisement views by children (age 4-17) by 70% over the full duration of live sporting programmes. We also welcomed the Premier League’s announcement that it will ban gambling sponsors from the front of shirts by the end of the 2025/26 season, and are working with a wider group of sports governing bodies to introduce a Code of Conduct on responsible gambling sponsorship.

Earlier this year, HM Government published a White Paper on gambling which outlined a comprehensive package of reforms to make gambling safer. This included measures to tackle the most aggressive and harmful advertising practices by preventing bonuses being constructed and targeted in harmful ways, giving customers more control over the marketing they receive, and introducing messaging about the risks associated with gambling.

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