Culture secretary Tessa Jowell is being challenged by controversial online betting site ThePool.com to clarify the Government’s position and the law on gambling among 16- and 17-year-olds, and consider a ban on all related marketing to the age group – including National Lottery and Premium Bonds campaigns.
ThePool communications director Andrew Lawford has written to Jowell following the Advertising Standards Agency ban slapped on the site’s raunchy campaign featuring scantily clad women and encouraging under-18s to gamble (MW March 30). Jowell slammed the ad as “reprehensible” for “using sex and financial inducements”.
Lawford states ThePool has taken legal advice and “remain[s] of the strong view that pool betting, in relation to football matches, is a legal form of betting for 16- and 17-year-olds”.
He continues: “If you believe this activity [indicating to 16- and 17-year-olds they can legally participate in pool betting] may be legal, but is a law that needs changing to protect 16- and 17-year-olds, can you assure us you will take action to prevent this group betting?
“We would also recommend action to stop 16- and 17-year-olds betting on the National Lottery and purchasing Premium Bonds.”
A Department for Culture, Media and Sport spokesman comments/ “Tessa Jowell stands by her comments. We have referred the legality of the pool betting ad offered by ThePool.com to the police and asked them to investigate.”
A Camelot spokesman states: “We have a clear policy of not marketing to under-18s. “National Lottery advertising is deliberately scheduled to run at times when they are less likely to be watching.”