AA pressurises Government over gambling ads watchdog

The Advertising Association (AA) is calling on the Government to drop plans to set up a new watchdog to oversee the advertising of gambling products and premises.

A report published by the Gambling Review Body in July proposes scrapping adverting restrictions on the gambling industry, which would pave the way for betting shops and casinos to advertise on TV and radio. The report also proposes setting up a body called the Gambling Commission to regulate the ads.

But while the AA supports deregulation in the sector, it says that introducing a new advertising watchdog would confuse both consumers and industry players, such as betting shops and casinos.

It believes that day-to-day responsibility for administering and enforcing any new advertising codes for gambling products should remain with established watchdogs such as the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) and the Independent Television Commission (ITC).

AA director of public affairs Sara Soltani adds: “At a time when the Government is preaching light touch regulation and the reduction of regulatory overlap, it seems completely illogical to establish yet another advertising regulator.”

The AA suggests that the Gambling Commission could act as a “backstop regulator”, with a number of sanctions at its disposal, including the revocation of gambling licences for persistent offenders.

Its stance is supported by the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising (IPA), which is also opposed to a proposal to give the Gambling Commission the power to add “wealth-type” warnings to gambling ads should it think it necessary in the future.

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