The Committee of Advertising Practice which is responsible for penning advertising codes in the UK has announced new rules aimed at protecting children from underage gambling. The announcement came on Wednesday, February 13, and under the new directive, all gambling ads will not be allowed on websites or games that are popular with children.
In a statement, the Director of the CAP, Shahriar Coupal, said that the new rules were in response to the latest findings of the Advertising Standards Agency which indicated that there is need to regulate gambling related ads and content to ensure they don’t target under-18s. Coupal also noted that failure to protect children from gambling related content was a gamble in itself, and it would be unwise for advertisers to continue putting the welfare of minors at stake.
Advertisers prohibited from targeting kids
The new regulations aim introducing extra layer of protection to ensure that children below the age of 18 are not targeted by gambling adverts. To realize this, bookies will be required to ensure that online wagering promotions are not aired to minors. To fully comply with this provision, operators will be required to refrain from placing ads that promoting betting on sections of websites that target children.
The rules also prohibit gambling companies from running real-money wagering ads on video games that are popular with kids, and it will also be upon these companies to ensure that their marketing content does not contain imagery that may appeal to children.
Finally, it will be illegal for licensees to use celebrities who appear to be below 25 years in their promotions.
The announcement comes at a time when there is a lot of concern about irresponsible gambling in the UK. In the recent past, the advertising regulator has banned gambling ads that seemed to encourage underage betting. Examples include 3 Coral Interactive adverts that used animated features which according to the ASA, were appealing to young children.
All gambling companies are expected to comply by April 1, when the new directive will come into effect. Similar regulations have been enacted in Australia where betting related content have been banned from airing before the watershed period. The move has been hailed by GambleAware, a non-profit organization that helps people with gambling related problems and digital marketing in the UK. A spokesperson of the group affirmed that the organization is pleased with the new advertising standards, adding that there has been a lot of concern that gambling is becoming popular among children due to exposure to marketing content.
The statement can be supported by statistics released by the UKGC which indicate that about 55,000 kids in the UK aged between 11 and 16 are already suffering from gambling related problems.