November 30, 2023 3 min read


Londoners Call for Ban on Gambling Ads within Public Transport

Residents drew attention to Mayor Sadiq Khan’s election pledges to limit potentially harmful marketing and combat the country’s growing problem gambling rates

Aggressive advertising strategies employed by online and mobile app gambling services have raised significant concerns regarding youth exposure and gambling harm. London Mayor Sadiq Khan faces mounting pressure to fulfill his pledge to ban gambling companies from using the Transport for London (TfL) network to post harmful marketing materials. 

Khan’s Election Pledge Remains Unfulfilled

A ban on gambling advertisements would align with previous actions to restrict marketing products and services deemed to cause social harm within London’s transport network. Advertisements for unhealthy foods and those promoting unrealistic body images have already faced bans. However, the term “harmful” gambling remains undefined, prompting concerns that London authorities may further delay any action.

During his April 2021 election campaign, Sadiq Khan promised to take action against such advertisements, highlighting gambling’s negative societal impact. He acknowledged that gambling harm spread beyond the individual level and could destroy lives and families. However, London authorities have remained passive, and ads for high-profile gambling companies remain a common sight within the city’s transit network.

I’ll instruct TfL to bring forward plans to extend the ban to harmful gambling advertisements on the network.

Sadiq Khan

At a committee meeting of the London Assembly, experts and politicians emphasized the urgency for Khan to deliver on his promise and expand the scope of the crackdown. Gambling support charities and public health specialists have long called for a much stricter stance on gambling advertising, noting that TfL represented a significant concern.

Bans Must Happen on the Local Level

While recent data from the Gambling Commission indicates a decline in youth gambling, London authorities have expressed frustration in regulating the market due to unclear definitions. Dr. Tom Coffey, Khan’s senior adviser on health policy, highlighted the challenge of defining “harmful” gambling and the need for a precise government-led definition to avoid legal challenges.

The UK government’s April gambling white paper led to consultations with industry stakeholders and leading charities discussing ways to refine the legislation. These initiatives achieved substantial progress but conspicuously steered clear of discussions around advertising limitations, focusing instead on curbing incentives like free bets and direct marketing.

The ongoing conversation highlights the complex challenges in regulating gambling advertisements and their potential impact on vulnerable individuals within the London community. A lack of provisions in the upcoming white paper means that any bans within TfL will depend on Mayor Khan and his willingness to address the concerns of his constituents.

Deyan is an experienced writer, analyst, and seeker of forbidden lore. He has approximate knowledge about many things, which he is always willing to apply when researching and preparing his articles. With a degree in Copy-editing and Proofreading, Deyan is able to ensure that his work writing for GamblingNews is always up to scratch.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *