The crackdown on gambling advertisements is also small and too late for my husband | Annie Ashton

The crackdown on gambling ads is as well little and also late for my husband | Annie Ashton

The crackdown on gambling advertisements is as well little and too late for my husband

Annie Ashton

A promised review into our outdated gambling laws has been repeatedly delayed. We require action just before more lives are lost

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 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 a lot of Television ad breaks and all over the net. There is nowhere to hide. The complete normalisation of gambling as a enjoyable and threat-free activity is completed by the long list of celebrities who front these ads. From José Mourinho claiming he’s “the Particular One” simply because he won on the web, Ray Winstone bellowing at you to bang a bet on, and Keith Lemon supplying you a so-called “free bet”, they are hard to ignore.

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The Committee of Advertising Practice lately announced that, from October, it will ban UK gambling advertisements featuring celebrities, sportspeople and social media influencers who would be most likely to appeal to young children.

This is a welcome step, but nowhere close to adequate. Prior to 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 products those adverts sold. A 2021 Public Well being England report estimates that there are much more than 400 gambling-related suicides in England every single year – far more than one a day. And with a lot more than 55,000 young children addicted to gambling in the UK, the next generation is getting groomed.

The way the gambling sector advertises is despicable. It claims to market “safer gambling” whilst utilizing every trick to encourage folks to bet. The duty is always on the gambler, with safety slogans such as “When the exciting stops, stop” or “Take time to think”, but never something on the true dangers of gambling (“Gambling kills”), never ever highlighting the very addictive nature of on the internet 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 provides entice people to sign up to sites with cost-free credit to spend, free of charge spins, or odds that look too great to be true. When Luke attempted to quit, it was these totally free bets that pulled him back into a gambling nightmare in the weeks prior to he died.

Sector lobbyists say gambling advertising does not result in individuals to gamble, citing a “flawed” University of Liverpool study to back this up. This is premium-grade gaslighting. Why would the UK gambling industry invest £1.5bn a year on marketing if it was getting no impact? It’s since 86% of on the web betting profits come from just 5% of clients – these addicted or at risk. If you are bankrupting and killing your best buyers, you need to 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 genuinely needs to take place. We are close to what could be the most significant shake-up of our gambling laws, with the 2005 Gambling Act presently beneath review. That legislation, which opened the floodgates to the unsafe levels of advertising we see nowadays, came into force in 2007 – it was drawn up ahead of the very first iPhone came to market. With most gambling and gambling marketing now happening on-line, our laws are hopelessly out of date.

There has been delay after delay in releasing the evaluation white paper that will set out the proposed alterations. Right at the best, along with an finish to “free bets”, demands to be an finish to all gambling marketing. Each and every day of delay is one more life lost. Much more than 500 folks have already died because of gambling since the evaluation began, and a single of these 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 market resisted a ban on smoking advertisements, the gambling sector is lobbying hard to keep the status quo. Cigarette firms argued that Formula One particular would not survive with no their ad revenue, which was wrong, and now betting firms say football cannot reside with no gambling advertising. This as well is, of course, nonsense – there are now dozens of clubs surviving without it and campaigning against it. Football was fine before 2007 and it will be once again.

A single day I hope I can take my son to see the football, travel with him in the auto, sit with him watching Tv, and let him scroll the web or chat to his friends on social media with no worrying he is becoming targeted by a gambling firm. I owe it not just to him, but to Luke, to do my very best to ensure this white paper puts an end to gambling advertising.

  • Annie Ashton campaigns to raise awareness of gambling addiction

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


  • Gambling
  • Opinion
  • Advertising
  • Mental overall health
  • Health
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