Football fans were bombarded by gambling advertising at the World Cup, with casino and betting adverts taking up 17 per cent of ITV’s ad breaks.
Italian ministers are pushing for a near blanket ban on most gambling advertising in order to curb the negative impact it has on society.
Now, campaigners want the Government to crack down on such adverts in the UK too.
From the start of the tournament through to England’s semi-final match against Croatia, ITV showed over eight and a half hours of advertising during World Cup games.
Of this, just under 90 minutes was made up of gambling adverts, roughly one minute in every six.
The 172 betting adverts dwarfed all other types of advertising, with screen time equating to one and a half times as much as that given to alcohol, and four times as much as fast food.
In its recent review of the gambling industry, the Government avoided tackling advertising, claiming there was not enough evidence that it harms children.
Labour’s deputy leader Tom Watson said that by turning a blind eye, the Government has “let our children down”.
He said: “One of the downsides to this brilliant World Cup has been the bombardment of gambling advertising on TV and social media that thousands of children will have been exposed to”.
GambleAware Chief Executive Marc Etches said that gambling is “an adult activity and young people are growing up with it being normalised”.
Highlighting that they are exposed to it on television, online and within computer games he concluded: “It seems to have gone too far.”
Meanwhile, in Italy attempts are being made to tackle problem gambling head on with a proposed ban on almost all gambling advertising as of January next year.
The proposal stipulates that any form of gambling advertising would be prohibited, with exceptions for pre-existing contracts and the national lottery.
The country’s Minister for Labour and Economic Development, Luigi Di Maio, is facing opposition from gambling firms, but maintains that advertising has “a clear effect on the desire to play”.
He said that while gambling generated “several billions” in tax for the Italian government, “the social costs generated by pathological gambling are at the same level”.
He added that “the disease of the game is an obstacle and my job is to eliminate it”.