Mayor Sadiq Khan Plans to Ban London Underground Gambling Ads

Gaming operators are facing a strong possibility of being stripped of advertising on the London Underground after Mayor of London Sadiq Khan vowed to ban such gambling ads in his manifesto.

Gambling Advertising Unwanted

Ahead of the upcoming mayoral elections May 6, Sadiq Khan, who had a history of banning ads of junk food on the city’s underground transport rail service in 2018, now plans to put gambling advertising in the same category and prohibit gambling operators from advertising their products and services on the Underground.

According to the manifesto, Sadiq Khan intends to follow on his previous actions which banned “body-shaming advertisements and advertisements for foods high in fat, salt, and sugar on the TfL network because of their impact on the health of Londoners”, and with the “devastating way gambling addiction can destroy lives and families”, the Mayor would “instruct TfL to bring forward plans to extend the ban to harmful gambling advertisements on the network”.

Khan’s intentions to restrict gambling operators from advertising on the Transport for London (TfL) rail network comes as another blow to the industry which is currently under scrutiny of the Gambling Act 2005 review, which, according to the Gambling Commission, would most likely impose a blanket ban on shirt sponsorship and advertising from sportsbooks in football.

The announcement from the Gambling Commission was welcomed by the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Gambling Harm, which recently did not spare critics to the UK National Lottery operator Camelot Group for using the parliamentary magazine The House to promote its business.

The touted shirt sponsorship and advertising ban was labeled as “common sense” outcome of the review by Labour MP Carolyn Harris, and allegedly has support from some of the senior ministers of the cabinet of Boris Johnson.

Support for the ban on gambling advertising also comes from a number of responsible gaming advocacy groups among which GamCare, which stated that based on lived experience surveys, 80% of respondents would support a decision to prohibit sponsorships and advertising from gambling companies in sports.

Dent to TfL’s Advertising Revenue

There would be only one loser if the Mayor of London is re-elected and goes ahead with the plan to ban gambling advertising and that would be TfL which relies on millions in revenue from advertising and gambling companies stand at its core in terms of advertising partners.

Gambling companies contribute to around 40% of the income derived from outdoor advertising in the city, playing a critical role in the financial network of the TfL. The company is also expected to reinvest part of its advertising revenue, £156 million, into the London Underground to offset decreasing revenues from the fall in the number of passengers due to the coronavirus outbreak.

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