The Local Government Association (LGA) voiced concerns regarding the gambling advertisements, which are said to encourage minors to gamble within the UK’s borders. Council leaders urged for tougher restrictions related to the gambling advertisements with the aim of reducing their negative impact on the minors and protecting the vulnerable part of the population.
The LGA announced that the number of gambling advertisements has dramatically increased in the recent years. According to the Council, the betting promotions has reached a disturbing growth of up to 500% from 2007 to 2012. This fact puts at risk many young vulnerable children, who are directly exposed to the bad influence of these advertisements. This problem should not be underestimated as it may result in minors, who are gambling addicts.
Simon Blackburn, Chair of the LGA’s Safer and Stronger Communities Board explained that the Gambling Act aims to position gambling as a legal entertainment, but at the same time stimulate people to gamble responsibly. He added that the number of betting ads is extremely high and a stricter law should be implemented. Currently, TV gambling ads can be broadcast at any time in case that these do not run throughout the pre-watershed – a programming aimed towards children.
The LGA demanded impact tests to adequately assess the risks. Apart from that, the Council asked for permission to reject applications for new betting shops at places, where there are more than enough of these. Last but not least, the LGA suggested reduction of the maximum stakes on the controversial fixed odds betting terminals (FOBTs) from £100 to just £2. This is expected to protect players from exhausting their bankrolls and generating tremendous financial losses.
It is important to note that earlier this year, the UK government introduced a possible crackdown on the FOBTs, but the future of the gambling machines remains still blurred. The machines have been blamed for the increase of gambling problems. The Council announced that it is not opposing gambling operations in total, but it is against clustering betting shops and FOBT’s at certain areas.
Other Anti- Gambling Advertisement Campaigns
This is not the first campaign in the UK, which aims to establish more strict rules for gambling ads. As Casino Reports found out earlier this year, the British business magnate Alan Michael Sugar, better known as Lord Sugar, is among the main opponents of the betting advertisements. Driven by the same ideas, he appealed to the government to amend the law and take off air any betting advertisements.
However, similar to any other industry, gambling operators are allowed to advertise their products, but in a proper manner, targeting a certain audience. In recent years there has been growing community concern over gambling advertising and the UK is not the only country considering restrictions on the broadcast of this kind of advertisements. This, on the other hand, is expected to vex many casino operators who are currently available on the UK market. In other words, they may even bring the case to court as such move may harm their business.