Gambling: Advertising

(asked on 26th May 2021) - View Source

Question to the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport:

To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment he has made of the effect of increases in (a) gambling advertising on levels of gambling and (b) gambling on levels of gambling-related harm.

Answered by
John Whittingdale Portrait
John Whittingdale
This question was answered on 7th June 2021

The government launched the Review of the Gambling Act 2005 on 8 December with the publication of a Call for Evidence. As part of that we called for evidence on the benefits or harms of allowing gambling operators to advertise and will consider carefully any evidence of links between advertising and gambling related harm. The call for evidence closed on 31 March and received approximately 16,000 submissions from a broad range of interested organisations and individuals. We are currently considering the evidence submitted and aim to publish conclusions by the end of the year.

Professor Per Binde’s 2014 literature review, conducted for the Responsible Gambling Trust (now GambleAware), explored five possible mechanisms by which gambling advertising could impact problem gambling behaviour:

  1. Stimulating a current gambler’s gambling behaviour to an extent that it becomes problematic;

  2. Inducing a non-gambler to start gambling in a way that quickly becomes problematic;

  3. Inducing a non-gambler to start gambling in a way that eventually becomes problematic;

  4. Maintaining or exacerbating existing problem gambling behaviour; or

  5. Creating a positive societal attitude (particularly amongst young people) towards gambling.

Of these potential impacts, Binde’s review found empirical evidence only for the fourth. While this research found evidence that advertising may adversely impact problem gamblers’ efforts to cut down, it did not establish a causal link between exposure to advertising and the development of problem gambling.

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