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Sadiq Khan blasted for breaking major pledge after promising huge ban



is under fire for failing to introduce a promised -wide ban on harmful gambling adverts, which officials have said are “hard to escape” in the capital.

The Mayor of London promised to extend an existing junk food advert ban on the Tube to include “harmful gambling advertisements” while campaigning for re-election in 2021.

But the ban – which was included in that year’s manifesto – is yet to materialise, despite research finding London is a centre for “problem gambling” in the UK.

A recent independent report from London officials found that it would be difficult to institute a ban that was limited to specifically “harmful” adverts.

With definitions not yet settled, they have said City Hall should consider a “blanket ban” targeting all types of gambling advertising.

The outcome of an investigation into gambling-related harms by the London Assembly’s Health Committee heard evidence from GambleAware that the city is uniquely hit by problematic gambling.

While overall gambling ages in the city are low, the capital’s rates of “problem gambling” are almost twice the national average.

The committee heard “a range of evidence” demonstrating the association between exposure to gambling advertisements and participation and called on the mayor to bring forward his planned ban.

But mayoral representatives argued during the investigation that there was no clear-cut definition of what constitutes a harmful advert.

They added there are limitations in the available evidence linking gambling advertising and harms.

In response, the committee argued a “blanket ban” would still be possible on the Tube, with chair Dr Onkar Sahota AM arguing it is “hard to escape the presence of problem gambling” in the city.

He said: “The Committee acknowledges the limitations in the evidence base linking gambling advertising with gambling harm. However, the absence of evidence of harm does not equate to evidence of an absence of harm and it seems unrealistic to expect definitive evidence to emerge on this topic in the near future.

“Therefore, the Committee does not believe that the current evidence base should be seen as a prohibiting factor in introducing advertising restrictions.”

A spokesperson for the Mayor told City AM adverts running on the TfL estate must abide by strict requirements.

They said: “All adverts that run on TfL’s estate must follow the Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP) code, which enforces specific restrictions on gambling campaigns.”

“The Greater London Authority’s (GLA) public health unit commissioned an independent review of existing research on harmful gambling to help develop the understanding of this subject.

“This work showed evidence gaps in relation to definitions of harmful gambling advertising and the impact of restricting out-of-home advertising. Further policy development work is underway and will be considered in due course.”

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