Calls To Ban Gambling Ads On TFL Network

Calls To Ban Gambling Ads On TFL Network


With the London Mayoral Election less than two months away, incumbent mayor Sadiq Khan finds himself under pressure from the London Assembly Health Committee to speed up proposals to ban all gambling advertisements on the Transport for London (TFL) network. This covers all major transports and hubs in London, including the overground, London bus service, and DLR. 

Previous Promises 

As the race for this year’s election heats up, there is a reflection on the previous three years under Labour’s Khan. The mayor pledged in his 2021 manifesto to introduce a ban that would remove all gambling adverts from public transport in the city, but he has failed to deliver this. 

The exact wording in his manifesto promised the removal of harmful gambling advertisements. However, many have been quick to point out that differentiating between what is harmful and what is not is extremely difficult. 

As such, the Committee has proposed a blanket ban on all gambling advertisements. They also suggested a pilot scheme where the space would be used to promote responsible gambling and to warn the public of the dangers of gambling. 

Research To Be Completed 

One of the sticking points of this proposal has been how to define harmful messaging and to find a correlation between advertising and gambling harm. In an interview with the BBC, Prof Rebecca Cassidy of Goldsmiths spoke about the difficulties of achieving this, saying that it is very difficult to quantify the relationship between advertising and gambling harm. 

In 2021, Bristol Council issued a ban on gambling, fast food, and alcohol-related advertising. However, the effectiveness of this ban is extremely difficult to gauge. 

London Assembly Health Committee Chair, Dr Onkar Sahota AM believes that the Mayor should not wait for this research. Sahota acknowledges the difficulty of gathering concrete evidence to support the ban, but he believes the absence of evidence does not equate to an absence of harm. 


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