TFL to consider banning gambling adverts

The transport network Transport for London (TfL) has confirmed it has begun looking at how it can implement a ban on gambling adverts.

This comes after Sadiq Khan pledged during his re-election campaign to ban gambling advertising on the TfL network.

TfL to consider gambling ad ban

During his mayoral reelection campaign, Khan pledged to ban gambling-related advertising on the TfL network and now the transport firm has confirmed it has begun looking at ways to implement the ban.

Khan pledged to ban these adverts on the Tube due to the “devastating way gambling addiction can destroy lives and families.”

Between April and June in 2021, the transport company ran 49 advertising campaigns for gambling products across its network.

A spokesperson for TfL 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.”

TfL has now moved to ban gambling ads after the issue was raised in a recent meeting of the London Assembly. Sian Berry, who ran as the Green Party’s candidate in the most recent mayoral election raised the issue.

Berry questioned the Mayor of London on whether it was “appropriate” the number of gambling-related advertisements had increased “in light of the financial struggles faced by many Londoners today.”

In a written response, Khans said that he shared her concerns and confirmed he formally asked the transport network to “bring forward” its plans to ban these advertisements.

TfL said it does not yet have a timeframe for when the ban will come into effect.

The ban on gambling ads across the TfL network comes after a ban on all junk food adverts across the network was introduced in 2019. This ban was intended to crack down on childhood obesity. 

TfL is coming under increasing pressure to ban advertising that promotes “risky investments” however, the decision is estimated to have cost TfL between £13m and £25m in lost advertising revenue.

However, the travel company argues that there is a level of difficulty in assessing the financial impact of such a ban as there are “many factors” that affect advertising revenues every year.

Gambling advertising in the UK

The issue of gambling advertising in the UK has been at the center of discussions in recent months and is also being considered in the government’s ongoing review of the 2005 Gambling Act.

In December, the UK’s Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden announced that the UK government would be carrying out its review of the 2005 Gambling Act.

The government launched a call for evidence where it will look at the role of the Gambling Commission, online restrictions, and marketing to examine how the industry has changed over the last 15 years.

This year, several organizations and groups, including the All-party Parliamentary Group on Gambling Related Harms, have called for wider bans on gambling advertising on TV and in Sports.

Back in March of this year, Bristol City Council approved a ban on gambling-related advertising on digital screens, billboards, and bus shelters it owns.

The Council’s ban on gambling ads had the potential to cost the council approximately £150,000 in lost revenue, however, cabinet members approved the revised advertising and sponsorship policy.