May 2, 2024 3 min read

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Petition Calls for Removal of Gambling Ads from London Public Transport

Leading charities drew attention to some operators’ questionable marketing practices, causing public outcry as Londoners prepare for the upcoming mayoral elections

A new petition by UK charity Gambling with Lives calls for removing gambling advertisements from the London public transport system. The petition highlights the significant influence of gambling advertising, which amounts to over a billion pounds annually, in persuading individuals to gamble. Studies cited in the petition indicate a clear link between exposure to gambling ads and increased gambling behavior.

Mayor Khan Pledged to Remove the Ads in 2021

Less than a week before Londoners vote for their next mayor, leading charities and high-profile officials questioned Transport for London’s (TfL) decision to accept operator 888.com’s newest advertising campaign. The marketing materials featured slogans such as “This carriage is now a casino” on the London Underground, trains, and buses, causing public outcry.

We can show TfL and the London mayor that it’s time to take the damage done by gambling seriously. Right now, they mostly hear from the advertisers instead of us, the people the mayor and TfL are meant to serve.

Gambling with Lives petition

Responding to the backlash, 888.com acknowledged the need to consider feedback regarding the effectiveness of their advertising campaigns. They stated that while the marketing materials complied with regulations, they recognized that certain ads could be interpreted differently from the intended brand position, leading to their withdrawal.

However, the incident sparked a broader discussion regarding the prevalence of gambling advertising on public transport, highlighting London Mayor Sadiq Khan’s 2021 pledge to ban gambling ads on the city’s transport network. Khan’s Conservative rival, Susan Hall, and the broader public questioned TfL’s decision to accept the campaign, highlighting inconsistencies in enforcing advertising regulations.

A Successful Petition Could Force Authorities to Act

The Gambling with Lives petition highlights the distress caused to vulnerable individuals, including children, those experiencing gambling addiction, individuals in recovery, and families affected by gambling-related harm, who encounter these ads during their daily commutes. Such marketing materials remain prominent across Transport for London (TfL) platforms as authorities show little incentive to address the matter.

The petition aims to demonstrate public demand for removing gambling ads from TfL, urging policymakers to take meaningful action to address the harm caused by excessive gambling advertising. By mobilizing public support through the petition, Gambling with Lives hopes to hold TfL and the London Mayor accountable for their commitment to protecting individuals from the harmful effects of gambling advertising.

Every day thousands of children, people experiencing gambling addiction, those in recovery, and families bereaved by gambling, will have been forced to see them, when they were just trying to get from point A to B.

Gambling with Lives petition

With over 9,000 votes as of the writing of this article, the petition underscores the need to address the pervasive influence of gambling advertising and its impact on vulnerable individuals. With widespread support, the campaign seeks to turn promises into action, urging authorities to prioritize public health and well-being by meeting their pledge to remove gambling ads from London’s public transport system.

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.

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