UK Committee Seeks Cuts In Gambling Ads To Protect Minors

December 21, 2023
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A UK parliamentary committee has called for a “precautionary approach” in gambling advertising, saying “there is scope for further regulation” to protect minors from exposure.
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A UK parliamentary committee has called for a “precautionary approach” in gambling advertising, saying “there is scope for further regulation” to protect minors from exposure.

A planned sponsorship code being developed in conjunction with football’s Premier League should not just end front-of-shirt gambling branding, but also reduce gambling advertising in venues and ensure a higher proportion of advertising is dedicated to safer gambling messages, the Culture, Media and Sport Committee said in a report released on Thursday (December 21).

“While a complete ban on gambling advertising would not be appropriate, there is still scope for further regulation beyond that proposed by the government,” it wrote.

The committee said, however, that horse and greyhound racing merited a “distinct approach” due to the “close and long-standing relationships with betting”.

“While gambling regulation should not overly impinge on the freedom to enjoy what is a problem-free pastime for the majority, more should be done to shield both children and people who have experienced problem gambling from what often seems like a bombardment of advertising branding at football and other sporting events,” committee chair Caroline Dinenage said.

“The government needs to go further than the proposals in the white paper and work with sports governing bodies on cutting the sheer volume of betting adverts people are being exposed to,” she said.

The committee also called for setting a “detailed timetable” for implementing the white paper policy document released in April, and for the government and the Gambling Commission to address the trend of unlicensed gambling companies targeting those who have self-excluded from gambling.

It also called for online games stakes to be set at a maximum of £5 ($6.30) to match gambling machines in land-based venues, and that online deposit limits should be set by default, with requirements for players to opt out rather than opt in.

The committee also recommended leaving cash as an option for electronic gaming machines following any introduction of cashless payments.

The panel endorsed a proposed statutory levy for funding gambling research, prevention and treatment, but said: “The government must ensure that service providers currently operating via the voluntary funding system are adequately supported in the transition to a statutory levy.” 

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