Transport For London (TFL) is looking into implementing a ban on gambling advertisements following Sadiq Khan’s pledge during his re-election campaign, where he criticised the “devastating way gambling addiction can destroy lives and families”.
In the three months of April to June 2021, TFL ran a total of 49 gambling advertising campaigns, compared to the 61 gambling advertising campaigns run throughout the entire 2018/19 financial year.
However, a spokesperson for the government body has confirmed that TFL is looking into how they can implement a ban. They said: “We have been asked by the Mayor to consider restricting gambling advertising campaigns on our network. We are assessing how this will be implemented and will be engaging with a range of stakeholders to inform this.”
According to the Evening Standard, the issue was raised by Sian Berry, this year’s Green Party mayoral candidate, during a recent London Assembly meeting where Berry asked Khan whether the increase in the number of gambling promotions was appropriate “in light of the financial struggles faced by many Londoners today”.
In a written response, the Mayor of London expressed concerns over the issue and confirmed that the had already asked TFL to bring its plans for a gambling advertisement ban forward, although the government body does not yet have a timeframe for when a ban will be implemented.
News of the ban on gambling advertisements comes after Sadiq Khan announced a ban on junk food advertisements across TFL in 2019, a move which cost the government body £13 and £25 million in lost revenue.
Speaking about gambling advertisements, Denmark’s Gaming Advertisement Board Spilreklamenævnet has ruled against gambling operator Mr Green over an advertisement complaint.
The advertisement in question aired in December 2020 before the Juleønsket Christmas family TV show on the TV2 network, and under the Danish Gaming Act, it is prohibited to market games to people under the age of 18.
As a result, Spilreklamenævnet ruled against Mr Green by four votes to one, saying in a statement: “In this case, the gaming provider has not ensured that the gaming advertisement was not aimed at children and young people under the age of 18, and therefore we find that the marketing initiative was in breach of the rules on marketing in the Gaming Act and in the code of conduct for the gaming industry.”
The four board members that voted against Mr Green agreed with the complaint that adverts displayed around the Juleønsket Christmas show should be aimed at people under the age of 18, that it’s the operator’s responsibility to ensure that its advertisements are not aimed at young people, and that Mr Green violated the rules on marketing with its advertisement.
However, the firm acknowledged that when the operator purchased the advertising space from TV2, it had been informed that it was acquiring air time suitable for people aged over 18 and 21. The four board members that voted against the operator also added that Mr Green’s advertising is no longer in violation of the marketing rules or Code of Conduct that it had violated.
The board members said in a statement via SBCNews: “As the marketing initiative in question has been permanently removed from the ‘Christmas wish’, the defendant’s marketing is no longer in conflict with the rules on marketing in the Gaming Act and in the Code of Conduct for the Gaming Industry. That is why the board otherwise takes note of the case.”
However, a fifth board member for Spilreklamenævnet argued that Mr Green had done what it could to ensure that its gambling advertisement was not aimed at young people. He said: “I find that the defendant should not have foreseen – and that the defendant thus does not bear the responsibility for – that the advertisement was shown immediately prior to the ‘Christmas wish.'”
Meanwhile, gambling charity GambleAware has announced the launch of a new £3 million training initiative to combat the rise of gambling addiction and raise awareness and knowledge of gambling harm.
Known as the Gambling Harms Awareness and Support initiative, the programme will reach out to professionals who work or volunteer across various industries, including housing and homelessness services, debt advisors, community pharmacies, criminal justice settings, faith leaders, prime care, occupational health, and social care.
According to iGamingBusiness, GambleAware, which in June released a report evaluating the Gambling Support Service and its effectiveness, believes that the people working within those professions that are approached by members of the public for help on gambling issues may lack the knowledge, awareness or skills in identifying gambling harms or providing support.
The British charity hopes that its training programme will provide people in those professions with the knowledge, skills and awareness to help them offer guidance and support on gambling-related harm to members of the public and reduce problem gambling across the nation.
GambleAware explained in a statement: “Upskilling professionals and community leaders through the new training programme will also contribute to expanding the National Gambling Treatment Service provision and promoting a whole-system, community-based approach.”
The Gambling Harms Awareness and Support initiative will run alongside GambleAwa’re existing training and educational resources, and the charity has confirmed that it will invest £3 million into the programme over a three-year period.
To help support the initiative, GambleAware has launched an invitation tender for qualified organisations to develop and deliver the training and resources in collaboration with the charity across England, Scotland, and Wales. The tender is open with a November 5th deadline for applications.
GambleAware isn’t the only organisation launching training initiatives as the Young Gamers and Gamblers Education Trust (YGAM) have partnered with Betknowmore UK and Bournemouth University to launch the Mindful Resilience initiative.
As reported by CasinoBeats, the programme will address the lack of knowledge and confidence amongst health professionals when it comes to diagnosing young people and minors with gaming or gambling addictions.
The programme has been developed by specialists who have compiled insight from medical professionals, psychologists, academics, and people with lived experience of gambling harm, and the initiative will promote the National Treatment Network and NHS for anyone in need of support, regardless of age.
Dr Sarah Hodge, a cyberpsychologist at Bournemouth University who has helped develop the initiative, said in a statement: “It was becoming increasingly clear to those of us who have studied and worked with gaming and gambling-related harms, that the health sector was lacking in the knowledge and confidence to identify risks and appropriately signpost young people and their families.
“Both charities [YGAM and BetKnowMore UK] are aware of the scale of the issue and it’s a natural progression for them to work with academics like myself to develop and provide training to those health professionals who need support.”
Shadow Minister for Mental Health Dr Rosena Allin-Khan has backed the initiative, saying: “The Mindful Resilience Programme is a pioneering initiative, aiming to address the gaps in existing support available to health care professionals working with young people living with gambling addictions.
“It is vital that we work proactively to tackle these addictions and support those affected. And the first step is ensuring that our health professionals have the knowledge and confidence to offer young people, struggling with these challenges, the support they need.”
Meanwhile, betting firm Parimatch has announced partnerships with six Premier League football clubs despite ongoing criticism over the relationship between sports and gambling.
The betting firm and tech giant has signed new agreements with football clubs Chelsea, Aston Villa, Brighton & Hove Albion, Southampton, and has extended its contracts with Leicester City and Everton.
As reported by European Gaming, the new and extended contracts cover offline and digital rights, merchandise, exclusive access to club assets, tickets and hospitality, and more. They also include several upcoming joint projects, giveaways, and advertisements.
Roman Syrotian, the Co-CEO at Parimatch Tech, said in a statement: “Our determined expansion into global sports propositions is the subject of huge pride to everyone at Parimatch Tech. With the addition of these three great football clubs to our portfolio, we can say that, as of now,30% of the English Premier League shares our values and our spirit.
“We are glad to be partnered with these clubs and are excited to utilise the upcoming opportunities these ventures present mutually. Parimatch is in awe of the clubs’ great history and hopes to continue to their success in the coming years. We are also honoured to have Chelsea, Everton, and Leicester City by our side, and we can’t wait to see our partners on the pitch – showing their passion for football and, naturally, winning.”
Nicola Ibbetson, the Chief Commerical Officer for Aston Villa, said in a statement: “This is an exciting announcement for the club, bringing on board an international brand like Parimatch who match our growth ambitions. This partnership will enable us to bring even more opportunities to our fans, and we look forward to what we can achieve together.”
Sarah Batters, the Director of Marketing and Partnerships at Southampton Football Club, added: “We are delighted to welcome the Parimatch as a new commercial partner. Parimatch shares our club values of being ambitious and forward-thinking, and we look forward to working with them for the season ahead.”