The Church of England has backed a ban on gambling adverts shown during live sporting events.
Lord Chadlington, a Conservative peer in the House of Lords, has formed an alliance with Labour, LibDems, SNP and the Church of England to urge ministers to ban gambling adverts during live sporting events where they can be watched by children.
Chadlington has suggested the government adopts the Australian model where gambling ads are banned during sporting events as well as an hour before and an hour after in order to stop “highly addictive” in-match betting.
According to the Telegraph, Lord Chadlington stated that this would be the first step towards an outright ban on the ads. The Conservative peer also launched a Populus poll of 2000 people and over half of all respondents backed a ban on gambling adverts while only 14% opposed it.
He said in a statement: “It is scandalous that since the 2005 Gambling Act, successive government have been so slow to recognise that the UK is on the lip of a gambling epidemic.
“My grandchildren may well look back on this period of UK social history when we allowed almost unfettered gambling marketing with the same bewilderment that we all now look back a time when cigarette smoking was freely advertised on TV.”
The Rt Reverend Alan Smith, the Bish of St Alban’s and the Church of England’s boss agreed with the ban in an interview with the Telegraph.
He said: “The firms have singularly failed to exercise any sort of restraint. In order to protect vulnerable people, we have to explore legislation as they are not prepared to be responsible.
“It is not just the amount of it but also the style that wills people to bet in a short time on something that will happen in the next few minutes which is particularly problematic for addicts.”
Alan Smith hasn’t been the only one to back a ban on gambling adverts. LibDem leader Vince Cable said: “I am totally supportive of closing this loophole that can cause serious harm. This is clearly a sensible move to tackle addictive gambling.”
SNP MP Ronnie Cowan agreed with the move and said that the amount of live sports betting was “alarming”. She added: “We risk normalising gambling to generations of younger people before they are even allowed to legally place a bet.”
In addition to this, Lord Chadlington wants to review a ban on loot box gambling in video games, rewards in video games that contain items hidden from view until after they have been won or purchased. He’s also urged for an increase in the levy on gambling firms to help problem gamblers and educate the younger generation, the Telegraph reports.
The news comes after Labour announced a series of new gambling-related policies to tackle the issue of problem gambling. One of the new policies included a ban on gambling ads during live sporting events.
Meanwhile, the boss of Ladbrokes and Coral joined in on the debate by urging for ban up to the 9 pm watershed.