The Guardian was able to take the decision to forgo millions in gambling advertising revenue because of its unique ownership structure, its chief executive, Anna Bateson, said Thursday.

The move is designed to bring the left-wing UK-based media group’s revenue streams into alignment with its socially progressive editorial and journalistic values. The group has already banned advertising from companies involved in the fossil fuel industry.

Guardian journalists have reported on the devastating impact of the gambling industry in the UK and Australia, helping to shift the dial and ensure the issue remains high on the public agenda,” wrote Anna Bateson, chief executive of the Guardian Media Group, in an editorial in The Guardian Thursday.

No Billionaire Owner

Bateson added that the group was able to make the decision because of its independent ownership structure. It has no shareholders and no billionaire owner. Instead, it’s owned by the Scott Trust Ltd., which exists purely to secure the financial and editorial independence of The Guardian in perpetuity.

The ban includes all forms of gambling advertising across all of the group’s online and print outlets, such as The GuardianObserver, and Guardian Weekly. The only exception will be lottery products that offer “non-instantaneous prizes,” because these “could have social benefits through raising money for good causes.”

Gambling and the Media

Bateson said that The Guardian understands and respects that millions of its readers, as well as its staff, are passionate sports fans who like to place bets.

“It is a matter of personal freedom, and we have no issue with that,” she said. “Our concern lies with the pervasive nature of retargeted digital advertisements that trap a portion of sports fans in an addictive cycle.”


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