Barry Norman: There are too many gambling ads on TV

The film critic takes aim at an advertising landscape which shows us to be "vain, greedy, irresponsible people constantly looking for a fast buck”

Film critic Barry Norman says there are too many gambling advertisements on TV.


The critic writes in this week’s Radio Times that gambling-related ads are part of a bleak overall landscape which shows how “vain, greedy (and) irresponsible” we have become.

In a piece which takes aim at various Christmas TV ad campaigns, Norman writes: “Perhaps most disturbing of all are the gambling commercials, which make betting look glamorous and surely appeal most strongly to the poorest and most desperate among us.

“There’s one in which a good-looking young couple are so eager to watch the telly and see how to lose all their money that they vault over the back of their settee, the more quickly to study the many ways in which they can gamble their life savings away.”

In his piece, which appears in the magazine published on Tuesday, Norman says there are too many areas of life which can be bet on.

“You can bet on anything online these days and the TV commercials are only too eager to show you how. Bingo, poker, football, horse racing, roulette, you name it. Two flies crawling up a windowpane? Yeah, you can probably bet on them as well.

“You can have a flutter before the event or during the event. In football you can bet on who will win or who will score next. No doubt it won’t be long before you can bet on who will be the first to get a red card. And if all that isn’t enticing enough, the good-hearted bookies will offer you a 50-quid flutter for nothing. Absolutely free! If you’re not addicted already you soon will be. Goodbye bank balance, goodbye house.”

Norman says the BBC is also complicit in the depressing trend because it shows the National Lottery results in peaktime, “just to remind you that here is yet another, ostensibly more respectable, way to get rid of your money”.

Signing off, he says that a visitor to Mars would write home to say: “Look, I don’t think we should bother invading Earth. It’s full of vain, greedy, irresponsible people constantly looking for a fast buck.”