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Surprise! UK gambling operators think ad ban is not necessary

Last week a multi-partisan group of UK lawmakers dropped a bombshell on the UK-facing gambling industry. Wouldn’t it be great, they said, if gambling operators simply couldn’t advertise? It’s a radical solution aimed at helping out a small group of problem gamblers that makes use of sledge hammer tactics when a precise tool would likely be more helpful.

Not surprisingly, late last week the Advertising Association (AA), a UK-facing trade group that focuses on advertising practices, came down firmly on the side of the operators. A total ban, they said, was not necessary since rules are already in place for protecting problem gamblers from themselves. Whether that carries much weight against the combined weight of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Gambling Related Harm (GRH APPG) remains to be seen.

Regardless, Affiliate Insider reported that Group Chief Executive Stephen Woodford stepped into the battle saying, “We believe a total ban is not necessary – such action has wide implications, particularly for the support of sports across media channels, something enjoyed by millions of people right across the UK.”

“The codes are under regular and rigorous review in line with the evidence. As new evidence emerges, the ASA and Gambling Commission consider this and amend the rules if they believe the evidence supports change,” she added.

Though UK lawmakers see gambling operators as a renegade group bent on enslaving problem gamblers, the AA sees them as law-abiding businesses and advises them to remain so, “We ask all gambling operators and their agencies to continue to adhere to the strict standards set by the ASA and the Gambling Commission. These rules clearly require gambling operators to be socially responsible and to protect the vulnerable, as well as under [18 years old],” Wooford concluded.

The AA expects to release a more detailed statement some time this week.