It’s the same the world over, one rule for commercial gambling and another entirely for anything government-sponsored.
The report in The Times on October 7, says that tight curbs will be brought in on daytime TV advertising gambling. Even before getting beyond the headline I would have put money on the National Lottery being exempt from any fresh legislation.
But that’s the way of the world. You will see the same kind of bullying, nannying, state-imposed regulation to “protect” us from the temptation to gamble in just about every country. But wherever you see it, you will also see unbridled, unrestricted, hypocritical double standards because whatever gambling facility is underwritten by the government doesn’t face the same restrictions.
In Germany the provincial governments were hauled over the coals for clamping down on arcades to “protect the vulnerable”, yet their lottery wins were emblazoned across any advertising medium available. You can find the same situation in Spain, in Italy, in France (where AWPs are banned but not casinos or the lottery) - pretty well everywhere.
In the UK, a 16-year-old gets into an adult gaming centre and the fact is trumpeted from the ramparts of the crusading newspapers with crushing condemnations of the operators – indeed, we have known instances where newspaper photographers have deliberately planted children in arcades to take pictures of them to support “exposés”.
And a 16-year-old can go into a newsagent’s shop or supermarket and find racks of luridly advertised lottery ticket displays and buy as many as he/she wants with no restrictions. But The Times tells us “it is understood that the promotions (TV advertising) have been identified by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport as an area of concern.
“As it stands, betting sites can basically be advertising to children all weekend,” a source said.
If the DCMS is worried about TV advertising to children, then why isn’t it worried about children (and 16-year-olds ARE children, especially as they are never asked for proof of age when buying lottery tickets) buying unlimited numbers of lottery tickets?
The DCMS should first look to getting its - the government’s - own house in order before correcting someone else’s.