The Gambling (Licensing and Advertising) Bill continues its progress through the legislature and we await Royal Assent. Throughout the process, amendments have been discussed in the House of Commons and, lately, in the House of Lords, the British legislature’s upper chamber. One such recent amendment calls for a consultation on remote gambling advertising.
The amendment seeks to require the Secretary of State to “consult on the current regulatory position concerning advertising of remote gambling and other forms of online gaming activity where it is likely to be seen by, or influence, a child or children and shall lay a report of the findings before both Houses of Parliament not later than the final day of 2014.”
The visibility of gambling ads has continued to draw criticism of the industry, despite it playing by the rules. We considered this, along with the issue of advertising of gambling in other territoires in previous posts.
In Great Britain, we have a relatively and rather inconsistent environment that allows for betting operators to advertise on TV at any time (provided is within the confines of sporting programming or after 9pm), bingo and the National Lottery to advertise whenever they like (subject to avoiding scheduling around kids programs) and casino/poker only to advertise after 9pm.
A study into the impact of gambling advertisements was conducted last year by OFCOM, the UK’s media regulator, which demonstrated a significant growth in the “visbility” of gambling to the general public through the proliferation of gambling ads on TV.
Reports in today’s newspapers suggest that the issues raised by gambling ads may “derail” the Bill, as such issues are debated in the Lords. Whilst such issues may not, in fact, derail the process, there is clear cross-Party resolve to change the way the current rules operate. The Gambling Commission has already said it will consult the industry on the way it incentivises players and it is not too much of a stretch to see that morphing into something wider as the visibility of gambling, particularly to children watching football on TV, attracts more and more critics.