Tuesday 6 April 2021 5:17 pm

Mayor of London election: Sadiq Khan pledges to ban gambling ads on the Tube

Sadiq Khan has pledged to ban gambling advertisements on the Tube if he is re-elected as mayor next month.

The mayor’s election manifesto, released today, said his current junk food ad ban on the London Underground would be extended to include “harmful gambling advertisements” if he wins the 6 May election.

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Khan previously banned all advertising on the Tube network that depicted “food and non-alcoholic drinks high in fat, salt and/or sugar” in 2018.

TfL figures show that the ban costs the transport body £13m in advertising revenue a year.

The decision to ban gambling ads comes as TfL faces a dire financial situation thanks to Covid-19 wiping out a large portion of passenger revenue.

The manifesto read: “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. 

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“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.”

TfL’s advertising estate is a key element in its financial make-up. According to the network, 40 per cent of the capital’s outdoor advertising value is from its estate.

For the year 2020/2021, the network expected to derive a £156m in income from the estate, which will then be reinvested back into TfL. Gambling ads could contribute millions of pounds towards this.

With the network’s finances already on the ropes due to the pandemic, any reduction in revenue as a result of the ban could pour yet more pain on the operator, which is currently seeking a long-term funding package from the government.

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Last month TfL accepted an extension to its current funding deal, which will last until May – after the Mayoral election has been completed.

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