London mayor pledges to ban gambling ads on the Tube

London Mayor Sadiq Khan says that he would like to ban gambling advertising on the Underground in his manifesto. 

Khan announced his new plans ahead of the mayoral elections, which take place next month. 

In his time as Mayor of London, Khan has already banned other forms of advertising that he deemed to be harmful. 

Plans to drop gambling ads 

The mayoral election will take place on 6th May, with Khan’s main competitor being Shaun Bailey of the Conservative Party.

Khan’s manifesto said: “I’ve already banned body-shaming advertisements and advertisements for foods high in fat, salt and sugar on the TfL network because of their impact on the health of Londoners.

“Given the devastating way gambling addiction can destroy lives and families, I’ll instruct TfL to bring forward plans to extend the ban to harmful gambling advertisements on the network.”

The Mayor has also said that his main priority will be creating new jobs, especially climate-friendly ones. 

Gambling ads already in hot water, but Khan might not get his way so easily 

With the current review of the 2005 Gambling Act, it has already been announced that a total ban on football club shirt sponsorships and betting advertising are “the most likely outcome”.

It has been reported that UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Senior Cabinet Members have expressed their support for football club betting sponsorship and advertising bans. Individuals within the House of Lords have similarly said they want to see this happen. 

However, Khan might be met with opposition as he pledges to ban gambling advertising on the Underground. Transport for London (TfL) gets millions in advertising revenue from gambling ads on the network. 

As for the City of London as a whole, 40% of outdoor advertising income comes from gambling operators. 

TfL looking to reinvest advertising income 

TfL is planning to invest well over £150 million back into the Underground. The network has been impacted significantly by the COVID-19 pandemic, which has resulted in large proportions of Londoners working from home for over 12 months. 

Prior to the pandemic, 1.35 billion journeys were made on the London Underground on an annual basis. 

Last month, TfL accepted an emergency funding extension until May. The UK is aiming to get back to normal soon, with the government roadmap hoping to ease all social contact restrictions by 21st June.

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