UK Gambling Cites Tough New Advertising Code

August 25, 2020

- Grant Whittington

The UK’s Betting and Gaming Council (BGC) has now made known the latest new measures approved to be implemented as part of a drive to prevent under-aged individuals (i.e. anyone under the age of 18) from viewing online advertisements containing gambling content.

The latest new measures will, according to a story featured on SBC News 90, make up the “Sixth Industry Code for Socially Responsible Advertising”. The latest amendments will according to the information provided to the news publisher, on October 1st be adopted into the existing code.

The idea behind the latest new measures to be implemented is the creation of further and additional age-appropriate safeguards in local advertising. The focus is obviously specifically on online gaming and online sports betting content.

Focus On Search Engines

Significant in terms of extent and impact is all sponsored and/or paid social media advertisements containing age-restricted gambling and betting content will henceforth be directed at consumers aged 25 and up. Only those websites explicitly able to prove that their overall inventory specifically targets persons over the age of 18 only will according to the latest new measures be exempted from the new 25-and-over rule.

Additional digital safety measures due for implementation include a new requirement that requires of all operators to ensure that search engine ads containing gambling and betting content make it clear right from the onset that the content about to be accessed is only intended for persons of or over the age of majority (18 years or older). Furthermore, all content must in future include safer gambling prompts and guidelines.

Mandatory Age Verifications

Video sharing platforms the likes of Google’s YouTube, Instagram’s IGTV, and Twitch,  are also once again part and parcel to the new regulations. The onus will be on gambling and betting operators to ensure that their content is only displayed to those users verified by the respective platforms to be aged 18 or older.

Its members are fully committed and absolutely determined to bring about higher advertising standards than those currently in force and being applied, said BGC chief executive Michael Dugher of the new advertising directives scheduled for implementation come the beginning of October.

What’s more, highlighted Dugher, what with the BGC being the new standards body for the regulated advertising sector, the drive and commitment to constant improvement will be an ongoing process. Excellent progress has in recent times been made thanks to the organisation’s efforts, explained Dugher, which in turn has led to the Industry Code for Socially Responsible Advertising having undergone regular updates – and all of this in keeping with ever-evolving technology.

The ultimate goal, concluded the CEO, is to ensure that industry standards remain as high as they possibly can be. Which is of course very much a continuous and ongoing process.

Gambling Ads Most Non-Compliant

Alongside fast food (junk food) manufacturers and retailers, gambling advertisers, an online sweep conducted by the UK’s Advertising Standards Association (ASA) has revealed, are guilty of having displayed the highest number of “non-compliant” content to under-age audiences. The mentioned online monitoring sweep is the first of its kind ever conducted by the ASA.

At least 70 more incidents of non-compliance prevailed in gambling and betting ads than what did in instances of advertisements related to the alcohol and tobacco industries, the organisation has confirmed.

BGC members have embraced a no-tolerance policy to under-18s engaging in any form of betting or gambling, added Dugher, and it’s a take-no-prisoners attitude clearly displaying the extent of the personal sense of responsibility collectively present in the members of the organisation. 

Dugher also once again called on the UK government to support the endeavours of the organisation by working alongside the BGC as it continues its crack-down on black market operators.

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