April 30, 2024 3 min read


Changes to Gambling Ad Rules in the UK under Fire by the House of Lords

During a recent debate with the House of Lords, advocates for change criticized the proposed changes to gambling advertising, highlighting that billions are spent annually on such ads

Last year in April, the UK government released a White Paper following the review of the country’s Gambling Act. The release of the White Paper marked the first step for the changes to the gambling regulations in the country, amid concerns about growing gambling harm and at-risk gambling. This year, the government’s efforts toward the improvement of the regulations continue and not unexpectedly, many industry stakeholders, observers and involved parties voiced concerns.

Early last week, the House of Lords confirmed its intention to hold a debate about the impact of gambling marketing. The discussion revolved around a question to the government: “What assessment they have made of the impact of gambling advertising, marketing and sponsorship on problem gambling, and in particular the risk of exposure to gambling advertising on children.”

Lord Foster of Bath, MP Daniel Foster, participated in the debate, which took place Thursday. In the beginning of the discussion, he said that it is delightful to see that many of the recommendations tabled by his group that support the gambling reform, were included in the government White Paper, “either in whole or in part.” However, Foster was concerned about the government’s position on gambling ads, as well as bonuses, free spins and other inducements, in light of the upcoming changes to the gambling sector.

I am delighted that very many of those recommendations, either in whole or in part, were included in the Government’s White Paper.

MP Daniel Foster, Lord Foster of Bath

Billions of Pounds Are Spent on Gambling Ads Every Year

Foster spoke about the liberalization of gambling advertising pushed by the Gambling Act in 2005. He added that by now, there are 1 million gambling ads annually, stressing that such ads are available via social media too. Foster cited data outlining that more than £1.5 billion ($1.88 billion) is spent on gambling advertisements annually. “As the Lords committee noted, companies would not spend so much if it did not work, leading to more gambling and greater risk of harm. Yet very little action is proposed,” he explained.

Another significant concern raised by Foster was about the expected increase in the figures related to gambling harm. He revealed that in July, the gambling regulator in the UK, the Gambling Commission, is expected to release the latest figures about gambling harm. “The Gambling Minister in the other place has already indicated that they are likely to show that 1.3 million people will classify as “problem gamblers” and that a further 6 million are at risk,” warned Foster.

Reforms to the Sector Seek to Prevent, Minimize Gambling Harm

Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay, responded to Foster on behalf of the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), addressing a number of points. He supported the proposed reforms for the gambling sector, explaining that the changes to the advertising regulations as a part of the White Paper seek to “prevent and minimize the risks of gambling-related harm.”

Parkinson spoke about the Committee of Advertising Practices’ rules on gambling advertising, outlining that all gambling operators must comply with them. Additionally, he spoke about the socially responsible advertising code which helps further restrict the exposure to gambling ads. Parkinson also acknowledged the positive effect of the “whistle-to-whistle” ban that helped significantly restrict the number of gambling ads that children may see.


Jerome is a welcome new addition to the Gambling News team, bringing years of journalistic experience within the iGaming sector. His interest in the industry begun after he graduated from college where he played in regular local poker tournaments which eventually lead to exposure towards the growing popularity of online poker and casino rooms. Jerome now puts all the knowledge he's accrued to fuel his passion for journalism, providing our team with the latest scoops online.

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