UK MPs Demand Addiction Warnings Be Posted On Gambling Ads
MPs in the UK believe that gambling companies should get the same treatment as tobacco companies when it comes to advertising. This means that prominent health warnings about the perils of gambling should be displayed on such ads.
For these MPs, gambling should be labeled as a public health issue.
Instead of suggesting that betting is ‘fun’ in their ads, the emphasis should be on how harmful betting can be.
They also insist that live sporting events should not have live gambling ads since it would expose young viewers to them and could potentially get them addicted to betting.
The group of politicians includes big names like the former Tory minister John Hayes and the shadow culture secretary Tom Watson. These MPs insist that rules on gambling ads are being constantly flouted, with many companies using loopholes in the gambling ad laws to advertise to everyone and not be accountable.
The UK is facing serious issues with a rise in problem gambling stats. In 2015, there were 430,000 individuals over the age of 16 who were identified to be battling a gambling addiction. This number is supposed to have tripled in the last three years and the government is seriously concerned about the growing number of problem gamblers. The UK government has been trying its best to crack down on gambling and address this issue of problem gambling. The latest attempt at batting gambling has been to lower the maximum stake of fixed-odds betting terminals (FOBTs) from £100 to just £2.
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MPs Pushing For More Stringent Measures
The decision to reduce the minimum stake of FOBTs was appreciated by anti-gambling groups but they now want the government to introduce more stringent measures. Some of these MPs have already sent culture secretary Matt Hancock an open letter to which requests for stricter compliance and fairness when it comes to the licensing and advertising of gambling. The hope is that the UK would follow the steps of New Zealand and have gambling policy be the province of the Department of Health.
In the letter, the group said
Gambling advertising should be consistent with other types of addictive or harmful products to public health such as cigarette packs, by featuring clearly identifiable health warnings that cannot be absorbed into an advert's overall design
Additionally, they want the practice of affiliate marketing to be curbed. Most affiliate marketers promote gambling websites through news articles that link to these gambling websites and in return gain a commission for bringing in new players.