The Guardian will no longer accept gambling sponsorship across its media portfolio of print, online and audio platforms in the US, UK, and Australia.
Anna Bateson, CEO of the Guardian Media Group, wrote in the comment section of the print and digital editions of the newspaper yesterday to explain the publisher’s decision, in a piece titled “All bets are off: Why the Guardian has rejected gambling advertising”.
Bateson explained that after The Guardian had highlighted the negative impacts of the gambling industry worldwide and some high-profile journalists at the forefront of keeping gambling haram in the pubic agenda, terminating all gambling ads would be appropriate.
Concerns have grown about the widespread availability of gambling apps across the Guardian readership make-up across the western world, notably the rise of sports betting in the US post-PASPA repeal.
Complaints over sports betting ads have also risen this year as the marketing efforts of sportsbooks proliferate across regulated markets.
Despite the blanket ban, Bateson noted that lottery sponsorships could still continue due to the “different nature” of the vertical, ie the charitable nature of most lotteries.
“We think now is the right time to say no to gambling advertising on all Guardian platforms, effective globally from 15 June 2023,” Bateson announced.
“Our new policy will apply to all online advertisements on the Guardian’s website, app, audio, video, and newsletters, as well as print advertisements in the Guardian and The Observer newspapers and Guardian Weekly.
“The policy covers all forms of gambling advertising, including sports betting, online casinos and scratchcards. Given the different nature of lotteries, we do not propose to include lottery advertising in this policy.”
As Chief Executive, Bateson recognizes that gambling is a ‘matter of personal freedom’, yet ethical concerns remain on the “pervasive nature of retargeted digital advertisements that trap a portion of sports fans in an addictive cycle”.
The Guardian concluded that it “remains committed to responsible advertising practices and will continually review its policies to align with legal changes.”