Banning gambling advertising until after the 9pm watershed. Senior Liberal Democrat Danny Alexander has warned in a letter to Culture Secretary Sajid Javid that a review of gambling advertising being conducted for ministers “has still not reported” and adds that “the time to act is now”.
“It has now become almost impossible to watch any kind of sports event without being bombarded by highly solicitous advertising, often displaying live odds and using famous sport stars to encourage viewers to bet there and then via the internet.
“The decision by the previous government to allow betting companies to advertise during sports events before the watershed is completely anomalous.”
“I note that the Gambling Commission are conducting a review of gambling advertising that has still not reported. But this is a matter of principle and I believe the time to act is now.”
He adds: “I am a liberal. I believe those who want to gamble have every right to. I also believe gambling companies should have the right to advertise their products on TV, but only after the 9pm watershed.
Mr Alexander’s letter comes two days before the first television campaign to address problem gambling screens in the UK after four of Britain’s biggest bookmakers signed up to a voluntary watchdog.
The £2 million campaign from the new trade body Senet Group show two men – one at home and one in a betting shop – losing their tempers when they lose, and features the tagline: “When the fun stops, stop.”
The soundtrack is the 1977 hit Black Betty by Ram Jam, and they conclude with the voiceover: “If you’re betting more than you can afford, it’s a bad betty, so pause for a moment and think again.”
The charity Gamble Aware features prominently in the advertising as a source of advice about problem gambling.
The campaign is backed by bookmakers William Hill, Ladbrokes, Coral and Paddy Power, who signed up to the independent Senet Group in September and committed to a package of measures to address public concerns about the industry.
The move comes after calls for action to tackle issues including the amount staked on fixed-odds betting machines and children being exposed to gambling adverts.
Express and Star. (2015). Poll: Should gambling advertising be banned until after the 9pm watershed?. Available: http://www.expressandstar.com/news/polls/2015/01/22/poll-should-gambling-advertising-be-banned-until-after-the-9pm-watershed/. Last accessed 23rd January 2015.