London Assembly Health Committee calls on Mayor to ban gambling advertisements on TfL

The Mayor’s manifesto in 2021 looked to bring forward plans to ban harmful gambling advertisements on the network. 

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The London Assembly Health Committee has called on London Mayor Sadiq Khan to bring forward proposals to ban all gambling advertisements on the Transport for London (TfL) network. 

In the Mayor’s 2021 manifesto, it mentioned introducing a ban on harmful gambling advertisements on TfL, but that ban has yet to be implemented. 

The Committee conducted a two-part investigation related to exposure to gambling advertising and gambling participation, which included people with lived experience of gambling harms, key public health figures and charities. 

Though the investigation showed there were limitations in the evidence that linked gambling advertising with gambling harm, as well as a lack of definition on what harmful gambling advertisements are, it also highlighted that it is not possible to show a difference between harmful gambling advertisements and non-harmful gambling advertisements. 

From this, the Committee has called for the Mayor to bring forward a blanket ban on gambling advertisements across TfL’s network and has recommended that there should be a pilot for public health messaging around gambling harms, in part using advertising space on the TfL network. 

London Assembly Health Committee Chair, Dr Onkar Sahota AM, said: “The Committee acknowledges the limitations in the evidence base linking gambling advertising with gambling harm. However, the absence of evidence of harm does not equate to evidence of an absence of harm and it seems unrealistic to expect definitive evidence to emerge on this topic in the near future.  

“Therefore, the Committee does not believe that the current evidence base should be seen as a prohibiting factor in introducing advertising restrictions. 

“The Mayor’s 2021 manifesto committed to a ban on ‘harmful gambling advertisements’ across the TfL network. The Committee was informed that this could not be implemented as there has been no definitive definition of harmful gambling, awaiting the Government to define what harmful gambling is. However, the Committee believes the Mayor should bring forward proposals to introduce a ban.” 

In other news, DraftKings has launched a new tool to promote responsible gaming practices called “My Stat Sheet”. 

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