Neglect banning celebrities from gambling advertisements. The only slogan ought to be: gambling kills | Annie Ashton

Overlook banning celebrities from gambling ads. The only slogan must be: gambling kills | Annie Ashton

Forget banning celebrities from gambling advertisements. The only slogan must be: gambling kills

Annie Ashton

Although stars with young followings will soon be banned from peddling this hazardous activity, a tougher clampdown is essential

Fans at Leicester City’s King Power Stadium.

After my husband, Luke, took his life, I promised to take our son to watch each and every Leicester City FC residence game. It had been a father and son tradition, and I wanted to carry it on. But every single time we went, we couldn’t escape the gambling adverts about the stadium. The word “bet” was everywhere, flashing at us like a command. It was a reminder for my son of his dad’s gambling addiction, and I watched as he shrank into his seat. We have not been back.

Gambling adverts are everywhere – not just about football grounds and on players’ shirts, but on the radio and on the way to college, magnified on billboards, in magazine inserts, in so several Television ad breaks and all more than the net. There is nowhere to hide. The full normalisation of gambling as a entertaining and danger-free activity is completed by the long list of celebrities who front those ads. From José Mourinho claiming he’s “the Specific One” simply because he won online, Ray Winstone bellowing at you to bang a bet on, and Keith Lemon supplying you a so-known as “free bet”, they are tough to ignore.

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The Committee of Marketing Practice recently announced that, from October, it will ban UK gambling advertisements featuring celebrities, sportspeople and social media influencers who would be probably to appeal to kids.

This is a welcome step, but nowhere near sufficient. Ahead of Luke died, he talked about the relentlessness of gambling adverts. I didn’t know then that he was struggling with a life-threatening illness brought on by the addictive merchandise those adverts sold. A 2021 Public Health England report estimates that there are more than 400 gambling-related suicides in England every year – far more than a single a day. And with far more than 55,000 kids addicted to gambling in the UK, the subsequent generation is becoming groomed.

The way the gambling industry advertises is despicable. It claims to market “safer gambling” while using every single trick to encourage individuals to bet. The duty is constantly on the gambler, with safety slogans such as “When the fun stops, stop” or “Take time to think”, but never something on the true dangers of gambling (“Gambling kills”), by no means highlighting the hugely addictive nature of on-line casino games, in-play betting, or predatory gambling sector practices such as VIP schemes and free of charge bets and bonuses.

Luke was drawn in by these “free bets”. These delivers entice people to sign up to web sites with totally free credit to commit, free of charge spins, or odds that seem also good to be accurate. When Luke tried to stop, it was these cost-free bets that pulled him back into a gambling nightmare in the weeks prior to he died.

Sector lobbyists say gambling marketing does not result in men and women to gamble, citing a “flawed” University of Liverpool study to back this up. This is premium-grade gaslighting. Why would the UK gambling market commit £1.5bn a year on marketing if it was obtaining no impact? It’s simply because 86% of on-line betting earnings come from just five% of clients – these addicted or at threat. If you are bankrupting and killing your ideal customers, you must replace them.

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Stopping celebrities from promoting gambling now feels like a half-baked measure, sold to us to steer clear of what actually needs to come about. We are close to what could be the biggest shake-up of our gambling laws, with the 2005 Gambling Act at present beneath overview. That legislation, which opened the floodgates to the unsafe levels of advertising we see nowadays, came into force in 2007 – it was drawn up just before the very first iPhone came to industry. With most gambling and gambling advertising now taking place on-line, our laws are hopelessly out of date.

There has been delay following delay in releasing the overview white paper that will set out the proposed adjustments. Correct at the top, along with an end to “free bets”, demands to be an finish to all gambling marketing. Each day of delay is one more life lost. More than 500 folks have already died due to the fact of gambling because the overview began, and one of those was my husband. This is why I’ve set up a petition calling on the gambling minister, Chris Philp, to publish the white paper now.

Just as the tobacco sector resisted a ban on smoking advertisements, the gambling market is lobbying hard to preserve the status quo. Cigarette firms argued that Formula One would not survive without their ad revenue, which was wrong, and now betting firms say football can not live without gambling marketing. This also is, of course, nonsense – there are now dozens of clubs surviving without having it and campaigning against it. Football was fine before 2007 and it will be again.

1 day I hope I can take my son to see the football, travel with him in the vehicle, sit with him watching Tv, and let him scroll the net or chat to his buddies on social media with no worrying he is getting targeted by a gambling firm. I owe it not just to him, but to Luke, to do my greatest to make certain this white paper puts an finish to gambling marketing.

  • Annie Ashton campaigns to raise awareness of gambling addiction

  • If you’ve been impacted by gambling-associated suicide, speak to Gambling with Lives on [email protected] In the UK, Samaritans can be contacted on 116 123 or email [email protected]


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