Gambling Advertising - Question for Short Debate

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords am 2:55 pm ar 25 Ebrill 2024.

Danfonwch hysbysiad imi am ddadleuon fel hyn

Photo of Lord Addington Lord Addington Democratiaid Rhyddfrydol 2:55, 25 Ebrill 2024

My Lords, I start with a small confession: I live in the village of Lambourn, which is the centre of the racing industry. If there ever was an industry linked to gambling, it is racing. That made me think about my reaction to gambling, given that I do not sit on horses or gamble much. It is the fact that it is a day out, when you have drinks in a nice environment, watching racing. Virtually everything we are talking about today does not apply to that scenario. We are talking about casually watching something on a screen, be it the one in our pockets—I have just remembered to make sure mine is switched off—a TV screen or another screen at home. That device in our pockets means that we can gamble at virtually any time. We need only be conscious to gamble on it. That is a totally different situation to the one I originally related to the gambling experience. It is a private activity. We know that the constant hits lead to addiction, so how do we control this situation and limit the inevitable damage, in a few cases, to those few cases? That is effectively what we are talking about here.

As many have mentioned, witty advertising lives with the young, even if they do not buy. How many witty smoking adverts did people come up with? They were quite creative and fun, with running jokes. I note the Silk Cut advert. Even non-smokers waited for the next joke. People bought in—it is very easy to. Some people take the biscuit, and some do not. The amount of money spent on advertising clearly means that the providers of this service see the link. As they are not going bankrupt at a rate of knots, one assumes they know what they are talking about.

What will the Government do to make sure that it is difficult for people to access gambling services? We have had suggestions, from the noble Lord, Lord Smith, for example, about having more difficult identification processes. There was a very good idea about a warning saying, “The person who’s guaranteed to make money on your bet is the bookie”. That is a very creative idea, and I hope we will run with it.

What are the Government doing in a systematic manner to make sure that children have more problems getting access to this? If the parents actively help them, we may have more problems still, but what are the Government actively doing? What are we doing to make sure that the young in particular—going up to about 24 might be a good idea here—will not see this advertising by accident? That is probably the principal objective here. Will you see these witty, well-placed little adverts by accident? Are they something you take on board? If you watch anything that crosses the watershed on late-night TV, you find yourself subjected to gambling advertising—“subjected” is probably wrong because you can always switch off, but it is there and always around. What will we do to make sure that that does not happen?

Finally, when it comes to sports and the big stadiums, if the Premier League is starting to take the adverts off teams’ shirts, why are the Government not encouraging everyone to remove them over a period of time? There is always a run-in, but we are proving to sport generally, and the biggest sport of all, that government will intervene eventually. Encouragement to make sure that we are removing, or at least controlling, this advertising within the stadium and on players’ bodies seems a reasonable step. We can give them some warning, but we can reduce it. If it is going to be in the director’s box, maybe that is fine, but it does not have to be at the side of the pitch. Can we make sure that there is some vision for and thought on restricting this? At the moment, there does seem to be anything coherent. I look forward to seeing how that will change.