Gambling Advertising - Question for Short Debate

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords am 3:05 pm ar 25 Ebrill 2024.

Danfonwch hysbysiad imi am ddadleuon fel hyn

Photo of Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Culture, Media and Sport) 3:05, 25 Ebrill 2024

My Lords, I too thank the noble Lord, Lord Foster of Bath, for initiating today’s debate and for the way he opened it. I had the pleasure of working with him, and a number of noble Lords who have taken part in today’s debate, on the Select Committee that he mentioned, before I became a Minister at DCMS. So I thank him for his tenacity in this area.

The Government recognise the concerns that he and many other noble Lords have raised about the impact of gambling advertising, particularly its impact on children. The debate about advertising reflects the balance we are aiming to strike with our vision for the gambling sector more broadly: regulating an innovative and responsible gambling industry on the one hand, and fulfilling the duty of government to protect children and the wider public from gambling-related harm on the other.

That is why, as part of our review of the Gambling Act 2005, we took an exhaustive look at the best available evidence. We are certainly not dismissive of evidence: on the contrary, we have sought to take an evidence-based approach. The White Paper that we published in April last year includes a robust, balanced package of reforms to prevent and minimise the risks of gambling-related harm.

Since the implementation of the Gambling Act under the last Labour Government nearly 20 years ago, gambling advertising, marketing and sponsorship have become more visible and widespread, and we have seen a visible integration of gambling advertising within sport. While this continual growth has not resulted in an increase in gambling participation rates, or in population problem-gambling rates, which have remained broadly stable for roughly two decades, it is important that there is a range of robust protections on advertising in place to ensure that it does not exacerbate harm.

The rules on gambling advertising, which operators must follow, are set by the Committee of Advertising Practice. A wide range of provisions in the codes are specifically designed to protect children and vulnerable adults. Compliance with these codes is a condition of Gambling Commission licences, and the commission can—and does—take action on adverts that are in breach of the codes.

Furthermore, the industry code for socially responsible advertising includes a television watershed on all gambling products apart from bingo and lotteries. Children’s exposure to gambling advertising on broadcast television is declining. The industry’s “whistle-to-whistle” ban has cut the number of pre-9pm betting adverts to around a quarter of their previous level, and further cut the average number of sports betting adverts seen by children to 0.3 per week.