The Guardian bans gambling advertising

16th June 2023 9:27 am GMT
Pragmatic Solutions

British-based media group Guardian Media Group has banned all forms of gambling advertising across its print and online platforms.

The global ban was revealed by the group on Thursday, with CEO Anna Bateson citing concerns that gambling ads could lure gamblers into a cycle of addiction that may result in financial and mental health hardships.

The decision was fuelled by “the rapid growth of online betting on sporting events, aided by deregulation and the huge increase in the number of smartphone users.”

Bateson also revealed concerns that “bookmakers used targeted online adverts to lure back individual gamblers.”

The new policy took effect yesterday and covers all forms of gambling advertising, including promotions for online casinos, scratchcards and sports betting. It will apply to the media group’s online and print outlets, including the Guardian, Observer and Guardian Weekly.

The publication’s new policy will not apply to lottery advertising, however, due to the “nature of lotteries”, which could have social benefits through raising money for good causes.

“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,” said Bateson. “We understand and respect that millions of our readers, including our reporters and staff, are passionate sports fans who may occasionally choose to engage in gambling as part of their sporting experience.

“It is a matter of personal freedom, and we have no issue with that,” she added. “We fully support the enjoyment of sports and respect individuals’ choices to participate in occasional gambling on football, horse racing, or any other sport. Our concern lies with the pervasive nature of retargeted digital advertisements that trap a portion of sports fans in an addictive cycle.”

The Guardian previously announced a ban on adverts from fossil fuel companies in 2020.