Tory peer backs Labour plans to ban gambling adverts
An cross-party alliance including the Church of England has issued its own demands towards restrictions on gambling advertising, calling for a ban on adverts during, one hour before, and one after sporting events.
That, say the group, should be a first step towards a total ban on gambling adverts at least up until the 9pm watershed.
The group is headed up by Tory peer and donor Lord Chadlington. It has backed the recent pledge by the Labour party to issue a blanket ban on gambling adverts on TV shown during live sporting events, but wants to go even further.
According to the group the UK is on the verge of a gambling epidemic as a result of government inaction since the 2005 Gambling Act. Gambling advertising itself has grown 63% since 2012.
A Populus study, commissioned by Lord Chadlington, found that 58% of the public would support a blanket ban on gambling adverts in the UK, with 14% in opposition.
Industry levy to treat gambling-related harm
Publishing on Parliament’s The House online magazine, Chadlington set out the group’s aims and why bold action is needed immediately to tackle problem-gambling.
Along with the advertising ban, the group have backed a policy made in the Labour consultation paper calling for a mandatory 1% levy on operators to fund treatment and education towards gambling-related harm. Such a levy would raise £130m per year compared to the current £10m.
Strikingly, the group also raised concerns about the independence of GambleAware, which they claim is aligned too closely with the industry and its interests. Labour’s industry consultation also raised this point and Chadlington states that a new independent body with cross-party support could be needed.
On why urgent action is needed, Chadlington said:
My grandchildren may well look back on this period of UK social history when we allowed almost unfettered gambling marketing with the same bewilderment that we all now look back at a time when cigarette smoking was freely advertised on TV and sponsorship of, for example, Formula 1. Worryingly, Formula 1 just confirmed a $100m global betting sponsorship deal. The tobacco advertising ban in 1965 positively shaped lives. We need to take equally bold action with gambling-related harm. By doing so we will also save lives, improve mental health and prevent many young people becoming problem gamblers.– Lord Chadlington, Conservative peer
Some form of restrictions on gambling advertisements appear to have both political and industry support. This week, GVC Holdings boss Kenny Alexander called for a pre-watershed ban on gambling adverts. Alexander stated the the whole industry is in agreement that there are simply too many gambling adverts.