Almost three-quarters of Britons support the Guardian’s ban on gambling advertising, according to a survey shared exclusively with Press Gazette.
Some 73% of 2,000 UK adults polled by Yougov said they were in favour of the Guardian’s global ban on gambling ads, which applies to all of the publisher’s platforms.
The ban covers sports betting, online casinos and scratch cards but does not apply to advertising for lotteries.
Almost three-quarters (73%) of people surveyed also said that other newspaper groups should follow the Guardian’s lead, with 5% disagreeing.
Outlining its motivations for the ban in June, the Guardian said its move was prompted by research, its own reporting and a shift in public attitudes. The Yougov data suggests the public agrees with the Guardian’s stance – just 5% of respondents said they disagreed with the ban. Some 45%, meanwhile, strongly supported the Guardian's stance.
Guardian Media Group chief executive Anna Bateson wrote in June: "Studies highlight a clear correlation between exposure to gambling advertising and increased intentions to engage in regular gambling… Ultimately, we believe that our primary obligation is to do the right thing for our readers, which is why we’ve decided that there are other ways to generate revenue."
The media group’s revenue from gambling has ranged between £250,000–500,000 (equating to less than 0.1 to 0.2% of total revenue), according to figures shared with Press Gazette.
The Yougov survey found over half of Britons (57%) believed that newspapers play a role in gambling addiction through the advertising they carry and should be held accountable.
A fifth (20%) agreed that publishers should take a great deal of responsibility for helping foster addiction. Two-thirds of respondents (65%) said banning such advertising would contribute to tackling gambling addiction.
While the Guardian’s gambling advertising was programmatic, other publishers, including the Daily Star, have direct relationships with gambling companies, while the Sun previously ran its own gambling vertical, Sunbets. The Sun still has a betting section filled with commercial features promoting the latest promotions from online gambling sites.
Since the Guardian announced its ban, Campaign has reported that The Independent has signed a multi-year e-commerce deal with marketing and sports betting media company Gambling.com Group, which also has agreements with US newspaper groups The McClatchy Company and Gannett.
Despite widespread support for the Guardian’s ban, respondents were divided over the publisher’s motivations. Over half (53%) said the publisher’s ban was driven by a desire to maintain a positive public image, compared with 28% who said it was motivated by a genuine desire to tackle gambling addiction.
Although gambling is not the only potentially harmful advertising carried by news publishers, 76% of Britons said they were in favour of an outright ban on gambling advertising, compared with 44% for alcohol and 45% for fast food.
In the UK, gambling advertising is regulated by the government's Gambling Commission which, among other things, requires advertisers to ensure that adverts do not portray, condone or encourage socially irresponsible or financially ruinous gambling behaviour and that advertising does not appeal to children or young people. Earlier this year the government published a gambling white paper to bring gambling and advertising regulation up to "the digital age".
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