The plan, first revealed yesterday, is one of a number of recommendations to emerge from a report by the Gambling Related Harm All Party Parliamentary Group, which has been a year in the making.
The group said that while some immediate changes can be made through secondary legislation, the Gambling Act needs to be overhauled so it is fit for the digital age. It has a good track record of enforcing change, too, having previously campaigned successfully for a ban on using credit cards to place bets, and the curbing of fixed-odds betting terminals.
In response, Advertising Association chief executive Stephen Woodford conceded that “now more than ever, it is essential that all parts of the ad industry fulfil their responsibilities to the highest standards to the UK, both economically and socially”.
He added: “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 18s.
“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.”
According to the charity GambleAware, gambling groups spent £1.5bn on marketing in 2017, the most recent year for which figures are available. Even so, betting companies spent roughly £200m on TV advertising in 2019 but splashed over £1bn online, an arena largely untouched by regulators.
Woodford concluded: “At this time, we believe a total ban is not necessary – such an action has wide implications, particularly for the support of sports across media channels, something enjoyed by millions of people right across the UK.”
Not so special: Betting firms face online advertising fury
GB Group probed for targeting under-age gamblers
Gambling firm hit with £670k fine for marketing gaffe
Major marketing cock-up triggers £1m fine for Sky Bet
Bookies flayed over affiliate ‘clear your debts’ ad blitz
Sky Betting & Gaming axes affiliate marketing scheme