Gambling Ad Changes Proposed to Safeguard the Youth in UK

The Committee of Advertising Practice and Broadcast Committee of Advertising Practice in the UK launched a consultation over the advertising regulation. Proposed new rules and changes to existing rules call for better protection of the younger audience as well as vulnerable adults from potential gambling-advertising related harms.

New Consultation Looks to Strengthen Rules for Gambling Ads

A consultation overseeing the UK advertising regulation was launched by the Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP) and Broadcast Committee of Advertising Practice (BCAP) today. The consultation will be aiming to create new rules as well as a strengthening of existing rules and guidance with a final goal to better protect young people (under-18s) and vulnerable people from potential gambling-advertising related harms. According to the announcement by CAP and BCAP, the new consultation responds to key findings from research by GambleAware completed in March this year.

Its findings suggest that the creative content of gambling and lotteries advertising that abides by the UK Advertising Codes has more potential, than previously understood, to adversely impact under-18s and vulnerable adults,

reads a statement by CAP.

Based on the results of the research, CAP launched consulting on proposals to strengthen the rules to prohibit the creative content of gambling and lottery ads from appealing “strongly” to under-18s. Furthermore, the CAP explained that currently the gambling ads are “prohibited from appealing particularly to under-18s“.

New Prohibitions Proposed

Acknowledging that currently child-oriented content like animated characters or superheroes are already banned from gambling ads, CAP’s newly proposed rules call for the ban of people or characters who is likely to be followed by under-18s or who have a strong appeal to the younger audience.

Although it is not explicitly stated, the new restriction may impact gambling advertisers who are promoting their brands by using celebrities, famous athletes, or social media influencers. Besides this proposal, the CAP consultation proposes a new ban for fashion, clothing, music, or appearance which is likely to appeal strongly to the younger audience under the age of 18.

Proposal for an Update on Existing Guidance

On the other hand, the proposal calls for updates of the existing rules for advertising aiming at reducing the negative effect of advertising on problem gamblers. The update calls for the prohibition of the presenting of bets in a complex way or one that emphasizes that skill or intelligence is involved as a level of control over the bet. Furthermore, the update calls for a ban on presenting “gambling as a way to be part of a community based on skill“.

Money-back offers giving gamblers a “risk-free” or low risk of betting in advertising is another point which the new measures plan to prohibit. Last but not least, the proposed update to the guidance calls for the ban of humor being used in gambling ads as well as the presenting of unrealistic portrayals of winners such as people winning from the first try or winning easily.

A Proportionate and Effective Balance

Commenting on the subject, Shahriar Coupal, Director of the Committees of Advertising Practice said in a statement that the consultation “proposes a strengthening of our rules and guidance which will help us in our ongoing work to prevent children, young and other vulnerable people from being harmed or exploited by gambling advertising.

He continued by outlining that the consultation responds to the valuable research by GambleAware which highlighted how gambling ads have more potential than previously anticipated. According to Coupal, the impact of the gambling ads on the younger audience is something that CAP takes very seriously and plans to address.

According to the CAP statement, the newly proposed rules and updates to existing guidance represent a “proportionate and effective balance” between the ability of gambling operators to advertise and the protection of the vulnerable population and under-18s audiences from potential harms that may arise from gambling advertising.

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