Labour Supports Ban on Live Sports Gambling Ads By Luke Haward, CDC Gaming Reports September 28, 2018 at 11:23 am The Labour Party announced last Thursday, as part of its party manifesto, that it plans to remove gambling ads from live sports broadcasts and to require the gambling industry to submit to a mandatory 1% levy, which will be used in funding gambling addiction prevention and treatment programmes. Pressure has been mounting on the ties between live sports and gambling sponsors for some time now, and the situation was not helped by the glut of ads seen during the World Cup. Nor have the recent scandals concerning gambling ads on junior players’ kits, websites on the net geared toward junior fans, and the avalanche of sponsor logos, banners and links. Financially, the move likely will be a broadside blow to the UK’s gambling industry – not, perhaps, to the level that Italy has recently been affected, but not incidental, either. Despite the financial hit, the fact is that some limitations on gambling advertising are likely a good thing for the longevity and reputation of the industry. The industry as a whole has thus far shown itself largely unready to have the scope and free reign in advertising it has had up to this point. We’ve seen too much promotional material appealing to kids and too many pre-watershed ads, and ultimately one child problem gambler is one too many. Is there such a thing as overregulation? Undoubtedly. The solution doesn’t lie in convincing the public, or the government, of the gambling industry’s good intentions. The solution lies in better self-regulation, which will improve not just the image but also the essence of the existing sector and help make the gambling industry a more responsible entity. In the absence of regulation, this has not happened, and as a result it seems we are entering an era, across parts of Europe at least, of a more hands-on regulatory approach. Still, the UK industry has time to meet regulators halfway in devising its new mandate, and to innovate at the same time. Said mandate must include better player protections, including a genuine structural approach to avoiding harm in the first place, and better assistance for players in setting limits. Firms must be willing to cap their own short-term profits in favour of long-term sustainability of their relationships with players, and play itself must be sustainable, enjoyable, safe, and take place within affordable limits. The campaign group Gambling with Lives was recently quoted in the Financial Times as saying that one tenth of the UK gambling industry’s gross gambling yield comes from problem gamblers, despite them comprising less than 1% of the population. Clearly, this cannot stand. The future is coming, and all the new tech that it is bringing with it will play roles both good and bad. AI will monitor and evaluate player patterns. New forms of gambling will abound. New regulations will be devised. Within the industry, attitude will play the most crucial role: what mark are we aiming to make on the world around us? It’s not just individuals who must ask themselves these kinds of questions. Corporations – who are legally persons, after all – must, as well.