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Gambling

UK’s biggest gambling firms to remove TV and Radio advertising

27 April 2020
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All TV and radio gambling ads will be removed no later than 7 May for at least six weeks

The UK's largest betting operators are set to remove all TV and radio gaming advertising for games and products during the COVID-19 lockdown.

The Betting and Gaming Council, which represents betting shops, online betting and gaming, bingo and casinos made the announcement today.

Existing adverts will be replaced by safer gambling messages, or donated to charities or removed for at least six weeks.

The change will take place no later than 7 May and remain in force for at least six weeks and until at least 5 June.

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The Betting industry has been accused of trying to profit from vulnerable people during the coronavirus lockdown

The moves comes after the Government wrote to betting companies to ask what they were doing to tackle gambling related harms during the cornavirus lockdown.

Betting firms had already said it would increase safer gambling messages, promote deposit limits and intervene earlier if customers increased what they spent.

Campaigners however said these measures were 'weak' and called for more.

In a letter to the Government, 25 MPs, peers and gambling addiction experts said:

People are at home and are severely restricted, with access to mini-casinos on their laptops or mobile phones. We therefore have deep concerns about the pledges which have been proposed this week by the [industry].'
MPs, Peers, gambling addiction experts Letter sent to Government

CARE’s view

There is little doubt those with a gambling addiction are more at risk during the lockdown. Up until this point, there has been little evidence of the betting industry taking this seriously.

While today's announcement is welcome, let's hope it is not too little, too late.

It is clear that deregulation of the betting industry must not be allowed to continue. In the interests of protecting people from gambling related harms, the Government must take the initiative to bring the betting industry into line.

Whatever the 'new normal' for the UK looks like, it must include ongoing protections for those most susceptible to problem gambling.

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Gambling

While for some, gambling is just harmless fun, for a significant minority it causes genuine devastation. Our vision is to see laws passed that will help protect vulnerable problem gamblers.

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