TfL plans to ban gambling ads following Sadiq Khan request

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 (AFP via Getty Images)
(AFP via Getty Images)

TfL is looking to ban gambling adverts across its advertising network after an intervention from Sadiq Khan.

During his re-election campaign earlier this year, Mr Khan pledged to ban such advertisements on the Tube due to the “devastating way gambling addiction can destroy lives and families”.

Between April and June this year, TfL ran 49 advertising campaigns related to gambling across its networks, almost as many as the entire 2018/19 financial year, when there were 61 gambling ad campaigns.

But a TfL spokesperson has this week confirmed it was assessing how a ban could be implemented.

The issue was raised in a recent meeting of the London Assembly by Sian Berry, who ran as the Green Party’s candidate in this year’s mayoral election.

Ms Berry asked the Mayor of London whether it was “appropriate” that the number of gambling promotions had increased “in light of the financial struggles faced by many Londoners today”.

In a written response provided to Ms Berry, Sadiq Khan said that he shared her concerns and confirmed he had formally asked TfL to “bring forward” its plans to ban gambling adverts.

TfL does not yet have a timeframe for when the ban will be in place.

There is also growing pressure for TfL to ban adverts promoting “risky investments”, though Sadiq Khan has said this is more difficult as they do not fall into a predetermined category.

Earlier this year, an advertising campaign by a cryptocurrency trading platform encouraging people to buy Bitcoin was pulled following a review, despite passing TfL’s initial checks.

In 2019, Sadiq Khan announced a ban on all junk food adverts across TfL networks in a bid to tackle childhood obesity.

That decision is estimated to have cost TfL between £13 million and £25 million a year in lost advertising revenue.

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.

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