YouGov-RSPH survey claims only 14% of UK oppose total gambling ad ban

| By Conor Mulheir
Campaigning and educational charity the Royal Society for Public Health (RSPH) has called upon the UK government to put further restrictions on gambling advertising as part of its ongoing Gambling Act review following a new survey conducted by YouGov.

The charity pointed to research carried out by market research and data analytics specialist, YouGov, which showed that 77% of adults and 66% of 11-17 year olds would support a ban on gambling advertising being shown on television and radio before 9pm.

Meanwhile, when asked about a total ban on the advertising of gambling products, 63% of adults and 53% of children were found to be in favour.

RSPH said only 14% of adults and children were opposed to a total ban on gambling advertising, with the rest being unsure or having no opinion.

In addition to restrictions placed on TV and radio advertising, most respondents also supported stopping gambling adverts being shown on social media and online before 9pm. 76% of adults and 64% of children surveyed said they were in favour of such a ban.

Further, 65% of adults and 54% of children surveyed said that gambling companies should not be able to sponsor sporting events or teams and 76% of adults surveyed backed requiring the industry to pay a levy to government for measures to reduce and prevent problem gambling.

The research was based on surveys carried out across the UK on a total sample size of 12,247 adults and 2,513 children.

Of the adults polled, 88% responded “not at all” when asked whether someone else’s gambling had impacted their life in a negative way in the past 12 months. A further 4% said “don’t know”, while 4% said “not very much”, 2% said “to some extent” and 1% said “a great deal”.

RSPH, however, argued that up to 20% of the population is at risk of gambling-related harm, and therefore called upon the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) to implement tighter rules for gambling advertising as part of a public health approach to reducing the risks associated with gambling.

Christina Marriott, chief executive of RSPH, said: “Advertising is a powerful force in our society – it not only influences what we buy, but it also tells us what is normal, and what we should aspire to.

“Given the harm that gambling can inflict on individuals, families, workplaces and communities, we need to take a stronger stand against it being embedded into our social and cultural lives. We no longer allow air time to other products which harm our health, like tobacco products: gambling should be no different.”

Other public figures, including Labour MP and chair of the Gambling Related Harm All Party Parliamentary Group, Carolyn Harris, founder of gambling harm recovery network GamLearn, Tony Parente, and chair of the Scottish Strategy Implementation Group, Phil Mackie, also commented on the results of YouGov’s research.

All called upon the government to reduce or ban gambling advertising, with some describing the industry’s marketing as a “bombardment”.

The terms of the UK’s review of the 2005 Gambling Act were published in December last year. Deposit and stake limits, questions around bonusing and the protection of under-18s from exposure to gambling are all to be considered, as well as limits on advertising and marketing for the sector.

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