Transport for London (TfL) has confirmed that it has begun exploring ways to implement a ban on gambling ads across its advertising network after Mayor Sadiq Khan urged the government body to come up with a plan.
Mayor Khan pledged earlier this year as part of his re-election efforts to prohibit gambling ads on the Tube, citing the devastating impact of gambling addiction on lives and the families of those suffering from it.
According to official stats, TfL ran just under 50 gambling-related advertising campaigns across its network. A TfL spokesperson said last week that the government department tasked with overseeing most of London’s transport network has begun engaging with a number of stakeholders to assess how a ban can be introduced. The spokesperson also confirmed they have been approached by Mayor Khan to consider the restriction of gambling adverts.
News about TfL considering ways to ban ads featuring gaming and betting products emerged shortly after Green Party member Siân Berry raised the issue at a recent London Assembly meeting. Ms. Berry was her party’s candidate at the latest mayoral election.
During the above-mentioned meeting, the politician questioned Mr. Khan whether he considered it appropriate that the number of gambling ads on the Tube had increased “in light of the financial struggles faced by many Londoners today” due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Mayor Shares Green Party Member’s View
In a written response to Ms. Berry’s question, Mayor Khan said that he shared her concerns and informed her that he had urged TfL to bring forward a plan to ban gambling promotions across its network.
A timeframe for when the ban will be implemented is yet to be announced by the government body as it seems to be in the early stages of discussing how and when it will be rolled out.
This is the latest testament to the growing pressure on TfL to ban adverts promoting products that represent “risky investments.” Mayor Kahn has said that prohibiting such promotions is a bit more difficult as they do not form part of a predetermined category.
Earlier this year, the transport network pulled an ad campaign by a major cryptocurrency trading platform that encouraged customers to purchase Bitcoin. The controversial promotion had successfully passed TfL’s initial checks.
A few years ago, Mayor Khan introduced a ban on all junk food advertisements across all TfL networks as part of the city’s efforts to counter childhood obesity. The move resulted in TfL losing between £13 million and £25 million a year in advertising revenue.
The government department has said it is difficult to estimate how much it would lose as a result of a gambling adverts ban as there are “many factors” that affect annual advertising revenue.
Source: TfL to look into banning gambling adverts across networks after mayoral pledge, South London News, September 12, 2021