London Mayor Sadiq Khan wants to ban all forms of gambling advertisements across his city’s fabled London Underground. It’s a move that makes a major point about the proliferation of gambling media in daily life, but it’s also a move that could cost the city millions of pounds in badly needed revenue. Either way, it’s yet another assault on the UK gambling industry’s ability to advertise its products to the country’s consumers.
Mayor Khan’s proposed gambling ad ban is currently in the planning the stages and has become an issue in the city’s upcoming mayoral election. While it’s safe to say that Khan would like to see the ad ban take place immediately, so far there haven’t been any concrete moves to make it happen. But that doesn’t mean he’s not going to do it.
In the past, Khan has shown little hesitancy to regulate the advertisements Underground riders see as he described in a statement to the press reported on by SBC News. “I’ve already banned body-shaming advertisements and advertisements for foods high in fat, salt and sugar on the TfL network because of their impact on the health of Londoners.”
“Given the devastating way gambling addiction can destroy lives and families, I’ll instruct TfL to bring forward plans to extend the ban to harmful gambling advertisements on the network,” he added.
But Khan’s proposed gambling ad ban comes with a hefty price tag. Gambling advertisements currently account for about 40 percent his city’s total revenue earned from outdoor advertising. At a time when public transportation has been devastated by pandemic-related lockdowns, this idea might not find the receptive audience it would have had in the pre-COVID world.