The UK government has taken a step back from a gambling advertising ban, claiming there’s “little evidence” of a direct link to harm.
Stuart Andrew, the minister for Sport, Gambling, and Civil Society, was speaking in front of the Culture, Media and Sport Committee on Tuesday where he made his comments. Speaking to MPs, Andrew claimed that the government had taken an “evidence-led” approach to the possibility of a gambling advertising ban.
little evidence that exposure to advertising alone causes people to enter into gambling harm”
“We have very much gone on the evidence [and] there’s little evidence that exposure to advertising alone causes people to enter into gambling harm,” Andrew said.
Andrew added that if there was “more evidence” that suggested this was otherwise the case, then the government would look at it.
More research needed
At the moment, much of the research into gambling is conducted through the charity GambleAware. As a result, the quality of research is limited because of the lack of needed funding.
According to Andrew, the government is planning to change this funding model with a proposed statutory levy on bookmakers, helping to push revenue for more government-backed research.
Andrew stated that the new regulatory framework would be in place by the proposed date of summer 2024.
“We want to have much better research and evidence and where research shows that there is more work needing to be done in an area, we will be more than happy to do that,” he said.
The UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) is also committing £32.8m ($42m) to GambleAware. Known as a “system stabilization fund,” the money is designed to help the charity manage the transition from a voluntary gambling operator funding model to a statutory levy.
GambleAware awareness campaigns
In the past, GambleAware launched several campaigns aimed at raising awareness for its treatment services.
barriers to getting the gambling treatment needed
Prior to the campaign, the charity found that there were barriers to getting the gambling treatment needed, including a lack of awareness of available services, social stigma around those services, and a reluctance to admit there was a problem to begin with.
At the time, the then-CEO Marc Etches of GambleAware said: “….there is a clear need to further strengthen and improve the existing treatment and support on offer, to develop routes into treatment and to reduce barriers to accessing help.”