London Mayor Sadiq Khan pledges Underground gambling advertising ban

Gambling advertising on the London Underground could be banned under Mayor of London Sadiq Khan’s current manifesto pledge ahead of the mayoral elections. 

On the back of the Labour Party politician’s ban of junk food advertisement on the underground rail service in 2018, Khan is now looking to implement a similar ban to the gambling industry, if re-elected on May 6. 

“I’ve already banned body-shaming advertisements and advertisements for foods high in fat, salt and sugar on the TfL network because of their impact on the health of Londoners,” the Mayor’s manifesto read.

“Given the devastating way gambling addiction can destroy lives and families, I’ll instruct TfL to bring forward plans to extend the ban to harmful gambling advertisements on the network.”

A potential prohibition of gambling marketing on the tube could have repercussions on future reinvestments by Transport for London, as advertising revenue plays a critical role in its overall financial network, contributing around 40 per cent of the city’s outdoor advertising income. 

The TfL is expected to reinvest over £156m in advertising income back into the London Underground, which has seen a fall in numbers over the last 12 months due to the ongoing pandemic. 

Khan’s addition to this manifesto arises as gambling advertising and general regulation of the industry comes under increasing scrutiny from public figures, including gambling law reform advocacy groups, and politicians from both sides of the House of Commons.

It has already been announced that ‘the most likely outcome’ of the UK Gambling Commission’s review of the 2005 Gambling Act will be a complete ban on shirt sponsorships and advertising by betting companies in professional football.

The announcement allegedly received the support of Boris Johnson’s senior cabinet members, whilst Labour MP Carolyn Harris of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Gambling Harms described the move as a ‘common sense’ outcome of the review.