Khan Calls on TfL to Implement Gambling Advert Ban
Transport for London (TfL) has said that it may ban all gambling advertisements from the transport network, including buses and Tubes, following a request from Sadiq Khan, the Mayor of London.
Earlier this year, when Khan was campaigning for re-election, he pledged to ban gambling advertisements on the network, citing the “devastating way gambling addiction can destroy lives and families.”
From April to June this year, TfL ran 49 gambling advertising campaigns, close the same number as the entirety of the 2018/19 financial year, when 61 campaigns were run.
At a recent meeting of the London Assembly, Sian Berry, the Green Party’s candidate for the last mayoral election, asked Khan whether the number of gambling advertising campaigns was “appropriate” given the state of the economy and the “struggles faced by many Londoners today”.
Khan sent a written response in which he agreed with her concerns and said that he would ask TfL to “bring forward” its plan to ban gambling adverts on its network.
A spokesperson for the organization has since confirmed that they are carrying out an assessment to see how the ban could best be implemented; however, there is not yet a confirmed timeframe. TfL is also coming under pressure to ban adverts that promote “risky investments”. However, Khan said that this would be more difficult to implement as they do not “fall into a predetermined category”.
TfL is under considerable financial pressure, and the spokesperson said that it would be “difficult to assess the financial impact of a gambling advert ban as there are ‘many factors’ that affect advertising revenue year on year.”
However, based upon Khan’s past actions, it is likely that the gambling advert ban will eventually come into effect. In 2019, he announced a ban on all junk food adverts across travel networks in order to help tackle childhood obesity, and that ban remains in place today. That ban is thought to have cost TfL between £13 million and £25 million a year, so the organization is most likely approaching the gambling ban with caution.