The Context

The gambling industry in the UK has grown rapidly over recent years. It is now worth £13.8bn annually, up more than 70% since 2009. At the same time, media spend on gambling advertising has grown to approximately £180m per year.1

With this has come increased media attention. In recent years, there have been many articles examining the gambling industry's visibility on the high street, its rising presence in the ad breaks and stories about the impact of gambling addiction.

The gambling industry has itself expressed concern about problem gambling. Leading figures have acknowledged the need to find a "balance between an individual's freedom to bet and the responsibility to protect (people) as far as possible."2

By 2013, leading politicians of the time had also started raising the topic. Labour leader Ed Miliband complained that gaming machines in betting shops were "spreading like an epidemic". A few months later, Prime Minister David Cameron said he "absolutely shares the concerns" of the opposition leader, arguing there were "problems in the betting and gambling industry".3

  1. 'UK Gambling Industry Statistics', Gambling Commission, January 2018. Media figures from Nielsen / addynamix.
  2. Carl Leaver, CEO Gala Coral, speaking on The Today Programme, BBC Radio 4, September 2014
  3. The Guardian, January 2014