Non-glamorous gambling ads to hit UK from September
Sally Army up in Arms
Ads for online and traditional gambling will hit the UK's airwaves from September, the government has confirmed.
But don't worry, the betting industry will be forbidden from producing ads thatl make betting seem glamorous, or exploit the vulnerable.
Restrictions on ads by gambling outfits – whether online or on the high street – are being dumped as part of the Gambling Act 2005, which has loosened gambling regulations in the UK.
New guidelines were released today by the Committee of Advertising Practice. These rule out ads that "portray, condone or encourage gambling behaviour that is socially irresponsible or could lead to financial, social or emotional harm". Children and young persons will be spared exploitation, apparently, and ads must not be associated with youth culture.
Suggestions that gambling can be "a solution to financial concerns" will be verboten, as will be the linking of gambling to "sexual success or enhanced attractiveness".
Does this present a challenge to the gambling industry's efforts to promote itself?
Hardly. With James Bond on the one hand and the Vegas-obsessed Hip Hop industry on the other, the entertainment industry is already doing the gambling industry's dirty work for it. Casino operators could probably get away with just printing their name and address and leaving it at that.
It was left to the Salvation Army to bang for the drum for keeping restrictions on gambling ads. Captain Matt Spencer, from The Salvation Army's Public Affairs Unit pointed out in a statement that "adverts are designed to stimulate demand", adding that "gambling should not be considered a normal 'leisure' activity since it can be highly addictive and damaging". ®
This is a small victory for free speech and free enterprise. All restriction on advertising are, at heart, a breach of civil liberties. Parents should be responsible enough to teach their children not to believe or buy into any advert they see and strong enough not to buy everything their kids ask for while adults should be free to make their own choices. The nanny state is the first step on a dangerous, authoritarian path.
The restrictions make the harm obvious
The government has obviously gone to great lengths to devise a list of restrictions and caveats to be applied to gambling advertising. Does this not point firmly to the fact that gambling is very often harmful and therefore should not be advertised?