SNP MP Ronnie Cowan calls for ITV to ban gambling ads

SNP MP and Vice-Chair of the House of Commons’ all-party group on gambling-related harm, Ronnie Cowan, has called on ITV to suspend gambling adverts during the upcoming European football championships.

“Tolerated, not promoted”

SNP member for Inverclyde and Vice-Chair of the House of Commons’ all-party group on gambling-related harm, Ronnie Cowan, recently declared that change was needed, including “a move to a situation where gambling was tolerated, not promoted”.

Cowan notoriously backs up campaigners, such as the national campaign the Big Step, part of the charity Gambling With Lives, that aims at raising awareness of football’s growing dependence on gambling and supports families who have lost loves ones.

“The European Championships should be about the beautiful game, but it will be impossible to watch without exposure to gambling ads. This type of advertising can have a devastating effect on young people and the vulnerable (…) My fear is that, with the greater exposure to gambling adverts this football festival will bring, new victims will suffer”, said Cowan.

He added: “I’m backing a ­suspension of gambling adverts on ITV during the tournament. Ads are already on display around the playing surface and elsewhere. Children are exposed to them daily and the normalisation of gambling is gaining pace. Major reform is required.”

ITV’s response

According to reports, about £2.3 billion was bet in the UK on the 2018 World Cup, with 172 related ads run by ITV alone during this tournament.

In response, the British TV network said: “The amount of ­gambling advertising around the live broadcast of football matches at the Euros will be significantly reduced compared to the 2018 World Cup. The majority of matches ITV plans to broadcast live will have no gambling ads under the ‘whistle to whistle’ ban and the remainder, which all have an 8pm kick-off, will have no gambling ads in the ad breaks before kick-off and before 9pm.”

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