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On 14 September 2017, the House of Lords is due to debate a motion moved by Lord Chadlington (Conservative) that “this House takes note of the effect of gambling advertisements on children”. This short briefing provides an overview of how gambling advertising is regulated, particularly with regard to protecting children, and includes a summary of statistics and comment on the issue.

The Gambling Act 2005 provides the basis for the regulation of gambling in Great Britain. The Act established the Gambling Commission and introduced the licensing system requiring operators and key personnel to be licensed by the Commission. The main responsibility for regulating the placement and the content of gambling advertising rests with the Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP) and the Broadcast Committee of Advertising Practice (BCAP) and the Advertising Standards Authority acting as the enforcement body for the UK Advertising Codes. The CAP and the BCAP have published codes and joint guidance on gambling advertising, which includes rules designed to protect children.

The latest annual survey by the Gambling Commission on the incidence and frequency of young people gambling found that 16 percent of 11–15 year olds had spent their own money on a gambling activity in the week prior to taking part in the study and that 11–15 year olds were most likely to have said they had seen gambling adverts on TV (75 percent), followed by social media adverts (63 percent) and other online adverts (57 percent). The Gambling Commission however stated that the rate of gambling among young people has remained relatively stable over recent years.

The Government ran a consultation between 24 October 2016 and 4 December 2016 for its ‘Review of Gaming Machines and Social Responsibility Measures’, which, among other matters, sought views on whether the measures to protect young people from advertising were sufficient. This is expected to be published in October at the earliest. 

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