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Question for Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport

UIN 149225, tabled on 4 February 2021

To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what recent assessment he has made of the effect on (a) problem gamblers and (b) children of gambling advertising on daytime TV.

Answered on

11 February 2021

All gambling advertising, wherever it appears, is subject to strict controls on content and placement. Adverts must never be targeted at children or vulnerable people, and the Committees of Advertising Practice (CAP) recently concluded a consultation on proposals to amend the advertising codes to further limit the potential for adverts to appeal to these groups. The broadcast advertising codes make clear that adverts for commercial gambling must not be shown during or adjacent to television programmes directed at or likely to appeal particularly to children. In addition, the Industry Code for Socially Responsible Gambling Advertising prohibits gambling advertising on television before 9pm, except for adverts promoting bingo or lotteries, and sports betting in limited circumstances (not immediately around or during live sport).

The government is not aware of specific evidence on the effect of gambling advertising broadcast on television during the day. However, in March 2020 the charity GambleAware published the final report of a major piece of research into the effect of gambling marketing and advertising on children, young people and vulnerable people. That study found that exposure to advertising was associated with an openness to gamble in the future amongst children and young people aged 11-24 who did not currently gamble. It also found that there were other factors that correlated more closely with current gambling behaviour amongst those groups, including peer and parental gambling. Among vulnerable adults, the study found some evidence that problem or heavy gamblers were more likely to report that marketing had prompted them to place a bet or open a new account. It did not suggest a causal link between exposure to advertising and the development of problem gambling in childhood or later life.

The government launched its Review of the Gambling Act 2005 on 8 December with the publication of a Call for Evidence. As part of the wide scope of that Review, we have called for evidence on the benefits or harms of allowing gambling operators to advertise.