Neglect banning celebrities from gambling advertisements. The only slogan must be: gambling kills | Annie Ashton
Forget banning celebrities from gambling ads. The only slogan need to be: gambling kills
Even though stars with young followings will soon be banned from peddling this unsafe activity, a tougher clampdown is crucial
After my husband, Luke, took his life, I promised to take our son to watch each Leicester City FC house 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 around 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 around football grounds and on players’ shirts, but on the radio and on the way to school, magnified on billboards, in magazine inserts, in so many Tv ad breaks and all over the web. There is nowhere to hide. The complete normalisation of gambling as a entertaining and threat-totally free activity is completed by the extended list of celebrities who front those advertisements. From José Mourinho claiming he’s “the Unique One” due to the fact he won on-line, Ray Winstone bellowing at you to bang a bet on, and Keith Lemon offering you a so-named “free bet”, they are tough to ignore.
The Committee of Marketing Practice lately announced that, from October, it will ban UK gambling advertisements featuring celebrities, sportspeople and social media influencers who would be likely to appeal to young children.
This is a welcome step, but nowhere close to adequate. Just before 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 Overall health England report estimates that there are a lot more than 400 gambling-connected suicides in England each and every year – more than a single a day. And with more than 55,000 kids addicted to gambling in the UK, the next generation is being groomed.
The way the gambling sector advertises is despicable. It claims to promote “safer gambling” even though employing every single trick to encourage people to bet. The responsibility is constantly on the gambler, with security slogans such as “When the entertaining stops, stop” or “Take time to think”, but never ever anything on the real dangers of gambling (“Gambling kills”), never ever highlighting the extremely addictive nature of online casino games, in-play betting, or predatory gambling market practices such as VIP schemes and free bets and bonuses.
Luke was drawn in by these “free bets”. These gives entice individuals to sign up to websites with free of charge credit to devote, free of charge spins, or odds that seem as well excellent to be true. When Luke tried to cease, it was these free bets that pulled him back into a gambling nightmare in the weeks ahead of he died.
Industry lobbyists say gambling marketing does not lead to people to gamble, citing a “flawed” University of Liverpool study to back this up. This is premium-grade gaslighting. Why would the UK gambling business spend £1.5bn a year on marketing if it was having no effect? It is simply because 86% of on the internet betting earnings come from just five% of customers – these addicted or at threat. If you are bankrupting and killing your ideal consumers, you should replace them.
Stopping celebrities from advertising gambling now feels like a half-baked measure, sold to us to stay away from what really demands to happen. We are close to what could be the largest shake-up of our gambling laws, with the 2005 Gambling Act presently beneath review. That legislation, which opened the floodgates to the hazardous levels of advertising we see these days, came into force in 2007 – it was drawn up just before the initial iPhone came to market place. With most gambling and gambling advertising now happening online, our laws are hopelessly out of date.
There has been delay soon after delay in releasing the overview white paper that will set out the proposed modifications. Proper at the top, along with an end to “free bets”, wants to be an end to all gambling marketing. Every day of delay is an additional life lost. Far more than 500 folks have already died because of gambling given that the assessment started, 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 ads, the gambling sector is lobbying tough to preserve the status quo. Cigarette firms argued that Formula One would not survive with out their ad revenue, which was wrong, and now betting firms say football cannot live without having gambling advertising. This as well is, of course, nonsense – there are now dozens of clubs surviving with no it and campaigning against it. Football was fine ahead of 2007 and it will be again.
A single day I hope I can take my son to see the football, travel with him in the automobile, sit with him watching Tv, and let him scroll the internet or chat to his buddies on social media with out worrying he is being targeted by a gambling firm. I owe it not just to him, but to Luke, to do my very best to make sure this white paper puts an end to gambling marketing.
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