In a pioneering move, Bristol City Council has approved a new policy banning adverts for gambling, fast food, alcohol and pay-day loans in all council-owned spaces.
This new rule means you will no longer see these topics promoted on council social media platforms, screens at venues such as parks, libraries, museums and customer service points, as well as around 180 bus shelters and 17 hoardings.
Despite potentially costing the council £150,000 in lost revenue, cabinet members approved the advertising and sponsorship policy.
Green councillor Carla Denyer believes the council could be doing even more, saying: “We need to see better regulation of all corporate outdoor advertising in the city, not just ones owned by the council – which means we need the council to create new advertising policies in its planning rules.”
Quite a radical idea for capitalist Britain under a Tory government! Bristol is a progressive city, taking second place in the UK Progressive Cities Index 2020, with a long history of Labour MPs who have campaigned on a number of issues to better their communities.
This new rule is an interesting attempt to protect citizens and better public health. The legislation regarding gambling advertising is also continuously changing at a nationwide level, too. Last year we saw the use of celebrities in gambling ads on television, radio and online banned.
We wonder how long it will take to see other local authorities emulate Bristol’s decision, and whether there is any evidence to back up the experiment.
We believe it’s unfair to group all of the topics of gambling, fast food, alcohol and pay-day loans together, as though they are all societal harms of equal proportion. A recent report from the UK’s biggest gambling operator Kindred revealed at 96% of revenue came from safe gameplay. The suggestion that all gambling promotions should be banned is based on an archaic and inaccurate viewpoint that the act is inherently harmful, despite evidence suggesting the vast majority of players gamble responsibly.
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