The All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) is expected to release a report next week, which will recommend a total ban on gambling advertising in the UK.

This report will be the culmination of a year’s worth of research, which looks into the impact of gambling-related harm within communities. 

But despite their wishes, the Advertising Association (AA) has rejected the idea of a complete advertising blackout in the country. 

Gambling in the UK has already been subjected to new restrictions this year, including the introduction of a ban on credit card gambling in April. 

What is the APPG concerned about in sports betting?

One area that the group is particularly worried about is the increasing influence of gambling in sports. 10 of the 20 teams in the Premier League have operators as their shirt sponsors, as do 17 out of 24 clubs in the Championship. 

As reported by the Daily Mail earlier this week, the report has the following to say about the relationship between sports and sports betting. 

“There is now an inextricable link between gambling and sports that has led many to rightly talk of the “gamblification of sport”.  

“Young people are at football matches not enjoying the game but engaged in a 90 minute non-stop high-speed gambling experience, live betting on the next goal or corner.” 

The findings are also critical of the video FIFA, produced by EA Sports. On this, licensed football clubs with gambling sponsors have these depicted – despite the game being rated suitable for audiences aged three and above. 

As part of its total gambling ad ban wishes, the APPG wants football clubs to be prohibited from both shirt and stadium sponsorships. 

What else is the APPG worried about? 

Last summer, the UK gambling industry voluntarily introduced a ‘whistle-to-whistle’ ban on broadcast ads. This means that from five minutes before kick-off, right up to five minutes after the final whistle, operators are not allowed to promote themselves via TV and radio outlets. 

Across all verticals, below are the key things that the APPG want to be implemented. 

  • A ban on gambling ads, both on TV and online;
  • An end to VIP schemes and inducements to bet;
  • A £2 stake limit on online slot machines;
  • Independent affordability checks;
  • Controls on gambling game design;
  • A new ombudsman to resolve disputes.

Labour MP Carolyn Harris leads the group, alongside the Conservatives’ Iain Duncan Smith and Ronnie Cowan of the Scottish National Party (SNP). She believes that:

“They [gambling firms] have shown time and again that they will not effectively self-regulate. Urgent change is needed to stop this industry riding roughshod over people’s lives.”

What has the response been? 

The AA has argued that it is working with the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) and the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) to ensure that responsible advertising is fulfilled. 

Chief Executive Stephen Woodford believes that adhering to existing legislation and maintaining industry standards would be a better approach. He said the following. 

“We believe a total ban is not necessary – such action has wide implications, particularly for the support of sports across media channels, something enjoyed by millions of people right across the UK.

“The codes are under regular and rigorous review in line with the evidence. As new evidence emerges, the ASA and Gambling Commission consider this and amend the rules if they believe the evidence supports change.

“We ask all gambling operators and their agencies to continue to adhere to the strict standards set by the ASA and the Gambling Commission. These rules clearly require gambling operators to be socially responsible and to protect the vulnerable, as well as under [18 years old].”