The Guardian bans all gambling ads globally
In a column penned in the paper today, Guardian chief executive Anna Bateson said the company “is committed to responsible advertising practices that will have a positive impact on society.”
Bateson expressed concern over the increasing prevalence of gambling, as the development of the online and mobile sector “has placed high stakes gambling machines in almost every pocket.”
That creates a greater risk of gambling addiction, she added, while highlighting studies that demonstrate correlations between exposure to gambling advertising and increased intentions to engage in regular gambling.
Following the publication of the UK’s Gambling Act review, which The Guardian said “fell short of any meaningful action on gambling advertising,” the company is taking matters into its own hands with its decision to ban all gambling ads across its platforms.
Not opposed to gambling
While The Guardian said the blanket ban was the right thing to do, Bateson clarified that the position is not an explicitly ‘anti-gambling’ one.
“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,” she wrote.“It is a matter of personal freedom, and we have no issue with that. Our concern lies with the pervasive nature of retargeted digital advertisements that trap a portion of sports fans in an addictive cycle.
“By taking a stand against gambling advertising, we believe we can offer a place for sport fans all over the world to enjoy world-class sports journalism in an environment free from advertising pushing betting, wagering or online casinos.”
Further, the company said that lottery advertising will still be allowed, as such products “could have social benefits through raising money for good causes,” while they also typically involve “non-instantaneous draws,” meaning the risk to consumers is lower than with other gambling products.
The Guardian is not alone in its stance towards gambling advertising.
In the UK, Premier League football clubs will have until the beginning of the 2026/27 season to drop any front-of-shirt sponsorships by gambling firms.
Meanwhile, the conversation around gambling advertising continues to gain traction in the mainstream media.
TalkSport commentator Clive Tyldesley recently resigned from his position due to his own discomfort with having to promote bookmakers and their odds during matches.
The Guardian had already implemented a ban on adverts from fossil fuel companies in 2020.