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MSPs urge total ban on betting ads

29 September 2021
Scottish Parl front 0

Members of the Scottish Parliament (MSPs) have backed calls for a complete ban on gambling advertising in order to "safeguard children and vulnerable adults".

A motion before the Scottish Parliament by Labour MSP Alex Rowley, backed by 12 MSPs in different parties, supports a call from the Coalition Against Gambling Ads to "end all gambling advertising, promotion and sponsorship".

The motion states that such a move would "safeguard children and vulnerable adults from what [the Coalition Against Gambling Ads) sees as the predatory behaviour of many gambling advertisements".

The motion also highlights evidence of harms caused by gambling advertising, particularly "on children and those who have suffered from gambling disorders".

It warns that there are "an estimated 250 to 650 gambling-related suicides in the UK every year, as well as an estimated five million people who are affected by gambling-related harm, and 55,000 children who are already addicted to gambling in the UK".

It "notes with concern reports that gambling companies have been very successful in generating awareness of gambling among 11 to 24-year-olds, with one study finding that participants in this age group knew more than seven of the 10 gambling brands listed".

And it "acknowledges the reported findings of a review of 27 studies from across the world that found that higher exposure to gambling advertising was related to more favourable attitudes towards gambling, with greater intentions to gamble and to gamble more frequently, and to spend more money on gambling”.

A spokesperson for CARE commented:

“With a continued rise in gambling-related harms affecting the most vulnerable in our society, undoubtedly fuelled by wall-to-wall advertising, it is obvious that the government must step up and do more. A complete ban on ads will sound extreme to some but given the scale of harms we are seeing, it may be a necessary step.

"At the very least, the government must enact much tougher regulation of the betting industry to ensure that they are taking their duty of care towards customers and wider society seriously. We call on Ministers to consider a wide range of measures to ensure that people are placed before profits in the years ahead."

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