March 15, 2024 2 min read


Londoners Critique Khan’s Unfulfilled Promise to Ban TfL Gambling Ads

Despite the lack of evidence linking ads to harm, Dr Onkar Sahota believes that the TfL estate is a key area that the mayor should address

In 2021, London Mayor Sadiq Khan promised to ban harmful gambling advertisements across TfL trains and buses. As part of his election campaign, the mayor slammed the ads for exacerbating gambling harm which, as he said, can “destroy lives and families.”

Curiously, the ads continue to persist, prompting disgruntlement among those who are concerned about the city’s problem gambling rates. The London Assembly’s Health Committee urged Khan to fulfill his obligations and ban ads across public transport.

Representatives of the mayor told the committee that there is not a surefire way to distinguish between harmful and non-harmful ads which is why such a ban would be difficult. The committee, however, argued that this means that the mayor should opt for a blanket ban on ads across TfL trains and busses.

The Absence of Evidence Linking Ads to Harm Is Not Evidence of an Absence

For reference, London has the highest gambling harm rates in all of the United Kingdom, despite its overall low gambling rates. Dr Onkar Sahota, chair of the London Assembly Health Committee, argues that this is exacerbated by the ubiquitous gambling ads.

From the betting shops which spread along the capital’s high streets, to our transport network, billboards, TV and online, there are invitations to gamble everywhere you look.

Dr Onkar Sahota, chair, London Assembly Health Committee

A Sadiq Khan spokesperson reminded people that all adverts on TfL’s estate abide by the Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP) code. For reference, the code already bans ads promoting negative body images and unhealthy foods.

The spokesperson added that a recent review of research on harmful gambling showed no certain evidence that harmful gambling is linked to gambling advertising. Despite that, the spokesperson noted that “further policy development work is underway and will be considered in due course.”

Despite the lack of evidence, Sahota believes that the TfL estate is a key area that the mayor should address. While the Health Committee chairman acknowledged that there is no concrete evidence linking advertising to gambling harm, he said that the absence of evidence is not evidence of an absence. Since definitive evidence is unlikely to emerge in the near future, Khan should take action now, Sahota believes.

For reference, the London transport operator received £663,640 in revenue from gambling adverts last year.


Although Fiona doesn't have a long-spanning background within the gambling industry, she is an incredibly skilled journalist who has built a strong interest in the constantly growing iGaming network. The team at is glad to have her on our roster to help deliver the best stories as soon as they hit. Aside from writing, she loves to dabble in online casino games such as slots and roulette, both for her own enjoyment and also as research to better improve her understanding of the industry.

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