888.com to Withdraw Gambling Adverts from London’s Trains and Buses Amidst Political Campaign

Home » 888.com to Withdraw Gambling Adverts from London’s Trains and Buses Amidst Political Campaign

Popular online casino operator 888.com reportedly decides to withdraw adverts from London’s transport network following the gambling harm claims and the criticism of the UK capital’s mayor Sadiq Khan raised for allowing gambling adverts, referred to as aggressive, on the London’s Tube, buses and cabs.

‘Baffling’ Adverts in Transport for London:

According to The Guardian, the presence of adverts in Transport for London‘s carriages is considered ”baffling” by Khan’s political opponents, problem gaming experts and authorities. As the source reports, the recent transport company’s denial to promote products like cheese, strawberries, and cream on unhealthy living grounds has additionally raised the eyebrow of critics after Transport for London started featuring the 888.com promotional campaign slogans on the London Underground, cabs and buses.

Disputable Slogans Amidst the Political Campaign:

Over recent weeks, these means of transportation have been featuring slogans like ”This carriage is now a casino”, or “Fancy a spin?” included in the scope of the recently launched promotional campaign of online gambling company 888.com. As reported by The Guardian, the gambling campaign coincides with the elections for London’s next mayor set for 2 May 2024.

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Withdrawal Driven by Criticism:

On 26 April, 888.com told the reputable news outlet it would withdraw some of the ads. The company reportedly explained that the ads “could be interpreted in a different manner to the brand position [they] aim for”. According to the NHS survey as cited by The Guardian, the decision may be driven by the criticism of the promotion of online casino games, which are considered more likely to cause gambling harm than other gambling products.

Susan Hall, Khan’s Conservative rival, reportedly said: “Sadiq Khan’s inconsistency in what adverts he allows and what ones he bans is baffling for Londoners. He is … banning adverts featuring cheese or strawberries and cream, while being completely relaxed about vaping and gambling? We need a common sense, clear approach to this, not one that allows the mayor … to play favorites.”

As The Guardian reports, Prof Henrietta Bowden-Jones, one of Britain’s leading experts on addiction and the supervisor of the National Problem Gambling Clinic also criticized Khan, as well as Andrew Lord, the House of Lords group Peers for Gambling Reform, who called the ads “aggressive”. At the same time, the group’s chair, Don Foster, reportedly said that Transport for London’s approach to gambling ads was “clearly inconsistent” in reference to junk food adverts.

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£1.8 million for Gambling Promotional Campaigns:

The same source reports that the transport company has received almost £1.8 million in payments from gambling companies over the past two years for high-profile promotional campaigns. On the other hand, 888.com has reportedly been fined a total of around £17.2 million over the period from 2017 to 2022 for multiple compliance failures. There are currently more than 80 councils across the UK taking action to restrict gambling advertising, The Guardian reports.

A London Labor spokesperson reportedly commented: “City Hall commissioned an independent review of existing research on harmful gambling to help develop understanding of this subject. Further policy work is under way and will be considered carefully by Sadiq if he is re-elected on 2 May.”

An 888 spokesperson said: “We continuously listen to feedback regarding the effectiveness of our advertising campaigns and acknowledge that, whilst fully compliant with all advertising regulations and standards, our latest campaign could be interpreted in a different manner to the brand position we aim for. As a result, we have decided to change the focus of this campaign and are withdrawing certain adverts that are currently running.”

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