Member of British Parliament Calls for Tighter Gambling Advertising Restrictions
Jo Stevens, a Welsh Labour Party politician, said that the United Kingdom’s decision to legalize gambling about a decade ago was rushed. In an interview with the BBC, Stevens discussed the government’s impending review of the nation’s gambling industry.
Stevens, who is a member of Parliament from Cardiff, is also a member of the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee. She said that she believes gambling operators should be denied exposure across sports venues, including shirt sponsorships. A number of gambling operator brands appear on jerseys of English soccer teams.
Stevens went on to say that she has grown concerned with the link between gambling advertising and the rising problem of gambling addiction. She also complained about gambling companies’ spending on advertising. Sporting Intelligence reported earlier in 2017 that operators have invested £281.8 million on English Premier League sponsorships alone. That is up in a big way from as recently as the 2010-11 season, when operators spent £100.45 million in the league.
Nielsen reported in 2016 that UK gambling operators spent £456 million on televised advertisements between 2012 and 2015. £118.5 million was invested in 2015 alone, which marked a 46 percent increase from the 2012 figure. Stevens added that the gambling industry would not be putting as much money into advertising if it did not reap huge benefits.
UK Government Failure?
Stevens says that the British government failed to properly estimate the risks that came with the liberalization of the gambling market in the mid-2000s. She said that those in power did not realize the potential ramifications that advancements in technology could bring to the industry.
Stevens wants the government to curb the way all gambling services are provided, advertised and regulated. She added that the newest industry review was long overdue and suggested that the UK follow countries like Australia and Belgium, where gambling sponsorships of sports teams are limited.
There are an estimated 500,000 gambling addicts in the United Kingdom alone, and another two million people potentially at risk. Stevens says that the Labour Party has altered its stance since it was the party in power that liberated the market a decade ago. She claims the Labour Party will now support any restrictions that could help curb gambling addiction and problem gambling.
The aforementioned review of the industry in the United Kingdom is slated to be published at the end of October or in early November. The future of fixed-odds betting terminals are expected to be the primary focus of the report, but it will also touch on other aspects of the industry. The report is also expected to make suggestions regarding the way gambling is advertised within the country’s borders.
It is currently unclear whether internet gambling will be a part of the upcoming review.
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