Gambling operators could face fines for advertising breaches

Business News

The gambling watchdog is seeking new powers to fine bookmakers for breaches of advertising regulations as part of a wide-ranging consultation aimed at better protecting consumers.

The Gambling Commission said it wanted the extra powers to help raise advertising standards across the gambling industry, with the hope the threat of a fine may mean companies would act more responsibly.

The prominence of gambling advertising is a high profile issue at present, with a focus particularly on the growing number of major football teams which have some form of sponsorship affiliation with the gambling industry. A related concern is the growing exposure young people now have to gambling advertising.

The Gambling Commission also wants to introduce a requirement which would prevent consumers from receiving ‘spam’ marketing by email or text.

At present, breaches of advertising standards by gambling companies can be met with a reprimand from the Advertising Standards Agency but this body cannot fine the companies involved.

The Gambling Commission, for its part, also has no way of seeking financial redress either through a fine or through a settlement in cases where companies have breached UK advertising codes.

The Commission can, and has, reached financial settlements with companies it regulates before but on issues not related to advertising breaches.