Complaints about gambling adverts see six fold rise

The number of complaints made to the Advertising Standards Authority about gambling ads have increased nearly six fold in a year.

In 2012, a total of 855 complaints about gambling adverts were made to the ASA, compared to 148 in 2011.

One complaint the board upheld was against the Health Lottery, which stated in an advert: “Mortgage? What Mortgage?”


The ASA said the commercial was “irresponsible” for implying that playing the lottery “was a way of solving financial concerns or achieving financial security”.

Another advert which came under fire for being irresponsible was by Ian Bailey Racing, as it implied customers were “likely or certain” to make a profit.

Anthony Jennens, chief executive of the charity GamCare, said: “There is always a risk that people will imagine they can gamble their way out of debt, and this is obviously wrong”.

He added that every other English-speaking country requires gambling adverts to direct people to helplines.


Nearly half of all the 1,879 complaints received since gambling adverts were first allowed in 2007 came last year.

Last year, there were complaints over adverts perceived to be socially irresponsible, indecent or misleading.

Mark Griffiths, a professor of gambling studies at Nottingham Trent University, said there was a significant growth in the number of problem gamblers since such adverts were permitted six years ago.


He said: “Problem gambling is only a very small proportion of all gambling in this country, but there was a 50 per cent increase in problem gambling between 2007 and 2011.”

He added: “Personally, I think that the stimulation of gambling via advertising is one of the major contributory factors.”

Last year gamblers in Britain lost a total of nearly £9.5 billion, according to statistics.

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