Gambling Advertising In The UK

There is an ongoing review on Gambling Advertising In The UK championed by the government with many worried about the outcome. (Image by Adi Coco on Unsplash)

There is an ongoing review on gambling championed by the UK government. Many operators feared that the review will bring in tighter and stricter controls including a ban on VIP programs, advertisement and also probably limit customer spending.

To date, the results of the review remain unknown even as time has progressed. So there seems to more hope for operators rather than fear towards the review by the UK government.

Over the past few months, there have been little pieces of information that offer both online and land-based operators more optimism. The operators look forward to a possible removal or raise of the affordability checks such that it now seems that advertising will also remain.

According to an article in PolitsHome recently written by Chief Michael Dougher of Betting and Gaming Council, the link between increased gambling activity and Radio and television advertising has been questioned.  Responding to the question, Baroness Barran, a minister of the UK government gave a parliamentary answer, stating that there has a drastic decline in overall participation in gambling over the past few months in Great Britain.

Barran believes that the decline is largely linked to the COVID-19 pandemic that ravaged the world last year and caused the government to impose a lockdown. The leader of the government review, John Whittingdale (also a DCMS minister) supported Barran’s assertion while speaking on increased gambling and advertising. He stated that the review did not confirm a causal link between the development of problem gambling and exposure to advertising.

The UK Gambling Commission

The Gambling Commission regulates gambling in the UK on behalf of DCMS (Department for Digital, Culture, Media, and Sport) under the Gambling Act 2005. The Gambling Act updated the gambling laws in the United Kingdom significantly including the inauguration of a new structure to protect vulnerable adults and children and also bring the growing Internet gaming sector within British regulation.

Previously, the UK government via the Gambling Commission limited television advertisement to only football pools, Bingo and National Lottery but later relaxed the restrictions when a new Gambling Act was enforced in 2007. Ofcom, the media regulator in the UK reported in 2013 that this relaxed approach had resulted in a massive increase in gambling advertisements aired on Television.

The committee of Advertising Practice responsible for registering UK advertising codes has announced new rules targeted at shielding children from underage gambling. Under the new directives announced on Wednesday, February 13, all gambling advertisements will be disallowed on games or websites which children are prone to.

The new regulation intends to introduce an extra layer of protection to make sure that children under age 18 are not targets of gambling ads. To achieve this goal, the bookies will have to ensure that minors are not aired online wagering promotions. In full compliance with this provision, the commission requires operators to stop placing advertisements promoting betting on website sections that target children.

Similarly, the rules also ban gambling companies from operating real-money betting advertisements on video games which children often play. Lastly, the companies must ensure that imagery that may attract children is not included in their marketing content.


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