The British gaming industry’s nemesis, the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Gambling-Related Harm (APPG), has urged commercial television stations to ban daytime betting sponsorship.
Amid stay-at-home Covid-19 lockdowns, “gambling companies are sponsoring programmes which seek to glamorise gambling with the aim of targeting women and young people and encouraging them to gamble,” the APPG has alleged in an official letter sent to TV channels, among them leading stations ITV and Channel 5.
“We are very concerned that television companies are promoting gambling – we have ourselves seen first-hand the harm and devastation that gambling can cause to young people’s lives, families and communities,” said the missive.
And long-running Australian soap “Neighbours”—sponsored by the Entain Group’s Gala Bingo vertical, and currently broadcast on Channel 5—was top of the APPG’s target list.
As the March 31 deadline for submissions to the government’s Official Review into the 2005 Gambling Act nears, the parliamentary pressure group has upped the stakes.
Expressing “deep concern”, and supported by what it described as 52 “experts by experience”, the APPG called for “urgent action” to implement the ad ban.
In its letter the APPG said that there are around 500,000 problem gamblers in the UK and claimed that there are an estimated 55,000 children in England and Scotland, aged between 11- and 16-years-old, who have gambling issues.
During national lock-downs, children, especially, are at greater risk of being exposed to gambling ads, charged the parliamentary anti-gambling campaign group.
In June last year the APPG called for a blanket ban on all gambling-related advertising.
It also urged an end to in-play betting and VIP schemes.
Meantime, the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, which oversees the gambling industry, has stressed that a review of betting advertising laws will be a key component of the upcoming reform of the 2005 Gambling Act.