An alliance of politicians from across several parties have united to call on the Government to crack down on the gambling industry.
Leading Tory Peer Lord Chadlington is backing a Labour Party review on reforming the UK’s gambling laws, particularly with regard to TV betting adverts.
Gambling adverts on television are currently banned before the watershed, with exceptions made for bingo, and during live sporting events.
‘Crammed with advertising’
In an article for Parliament’s magazine The House, Lord Chadlington highlighted that during the World Cup, viewers were exposed to 90 minutes of advertising.
He said it is unsurprising that millions of people are said to be at risk of joining the estimated 430,000 problem gamblers already in the UK.
He also said the Labour review does not go far enough – only recommending a ‘whistle-to-whistle ban’.
“Australia has banned gambling advertising during live sporting events and five minutes before and after the whistle, only to find that the hour before and after matches were crammed with such advertising.
“We should learn from the Australian experience and ban gambling advertising for at least an hour before and after live sporting events.”
Lord Chadlington’s comments received cross-party support.
Liberal Democrat leader Sir Vince Cable said: “I am totally supportive of closing this loophole that can cause serious harm. This is clearly a sensible move to tackle addictive gambling.”
Labour’s deputy leader Tom Watson said: “The explosion of gambling advertising in recent years is not good for anyone – not the companies, not the young people watching sport and especially not those suffering from gambling addiction.”
A Church of England representative hit out at betting companies for only serving to exacerbate the problem, saying: “The firms have singularly failed to exercise any sort of restraint.”
However, Kenny Alexander, Chief Executive of Britain’s biggest gambling operator GVC, which owns Ladbrokes Coral, has also called for adverts during sports events to be banned.
He said: “The whole industry has come to the conclusion that there are far too many gambling adverts.”
He added: “Many of them are too aggressive, particularly for young people who are a few years away from being able to gamble. It’s not responsible.”