The Guardian to reject gambling advertising

The Guardian to reject gambling advertising

The Guardian will no longer carry advertising for gambling, the newsbrand has announced.

The new policy will come into effect immediately today and apply to all online ads on The Guardian‘s website, app, audio, video and newsletters, as well as print ads in The Guardian and Observer newspapers and Guardian Weekly.

The ban includes all forms of gambling advertising, including sports betting, online casinos and scratchcards. The publisher is, however, exempting lottery advertising from the ban, citing “the different nature of lotteries”.

The announcement was made publicly on Thursday morning by CEO Anna Bateson.

“Many people like the occasional bet, but the advent of 24/7 betting apps on smartphones, marketed to the public through billions of pounds and dollars in advertising across all forms of media, has placed high stakes gambling machines in almost every pocket,” Bateson said. “This creates a greater risk of gambling addiction and financial ruin.”

The Guardian has reported on the rise in gambling addiction, especially in the UK and Australia, in recent years. The US has since 2018 also seen a boom in gambling following the lifting of a federal ban on the practice.

“We understand and respect that millions of our readers, including our reporters and staff, are passionate sports fans who may occasionally choose to engage in gambling as part of their sporting experience,” continued Bateson. “It is a matter of personal freedom, and we have no issue with that. We fully support the enjoyment of sports and respect individuals’ choices to participate in occasional gambling on football, horse racing, or any other sport.

“Our concern lies with the pervasive nature of retargeted digital advertisements that trap a portion of sports fans in an addictive cycle. By taking a stand against gambling advertising, we believe we can offer a place for sport fans all over the world to enjoy world-class sports journalism in an environment free from advertising pushing betting, wagering or online casinos.”

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In response to such reporting from The Guardian and other news publishers, as well as waning public support for gambling advertisements, the UK government last year introduced a ban on gambling and betting companies from using advertising featuring footballers and reality TV stars. More recently, Premier League clubs also agreed to ban gambling company sponsorships on club shirts beginning in the 2026/2027 season.

The Guardian‘s gambling ads ban is not the first time the publisher has declined to run ads on a specific topic. In 2020, it became the first major publisher to refuse to carry advertising from oil and gas companies.

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