TfL (Transport for London) is considering banning gambling adverts across the whole advertising network, after an intervention from London Mayor, Sadiq Khan.
Khan pledged a ban during his re-election campaign earlier this year; prohibiting gambling advertisements on the Tube lines in London, explaining the “devastating way gambling addiction can destroy lives and families.”
Between the months of April and June this year, TFL ran 49 advertising campaigns in relation to gambling across its networks, which was almost the same amount as the entirety of the 2018/19 financial year, when there were 61 gambling advertisement campaigns in total.
The issue of banning such advertisements was raised in a meeting of the London Assembly, run by Sian Berry, the Green Party’s candidate in this year’s mayoral election. She asked Kahn whether the number of gambling promotions having increased was “appropriate” given the state of the financial economy and “in light of the struggles faced by many Londoners today.”
Ms Berry received a written response by the Mayor; in agreement with her concerns he agreed to ask TFL to “bring forward” its plans to ban gambling adverts on its railway lines and carriages.
A spokesperson for TFL has confirmed an assessment is being actioned on a plan to see how a ban could be implemented; however it does not yet have an actioned timeframe.
As there is great pressure on advertisements on public transport, TFL is also under scrutiny to ban adverts promoting “risky investments.” which Khan has said to have been “more difficult as they do not fall into a predetermined category.”
TFL has said 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.”
Khan’s past decisions have not yet failed to take action; as in 2019, his announcement to tackle childhood obesity and ban on all junk food adverts across TFL networks was authorised and actioned.
However, that decision was estimated to have lost and cost TfL between £13m ($18m) and £25m a year in lost advertising revenue, so TFL is treading slowly.