UK’s Stricter Gambling Ad Policy

  • Edited
  • 3 minutes

Gambling can be fun but it can also be problematic as well. People who are typically addicted to gambling face a lot of financial and even relationship problems. And because of these things, it is crucial that regulators act in order to take a closer look at the gambling industry.

UK’s ad regulators are now starting a crackdown on gambling ads that target the vulnerable audience with its “play fast and loose” set up. The ads usually come in eye-catching packages and free bet and bonus offers.

The Committees of Advertising Practice (CAP) will be enforcing on April 2, 2018, strict regulations when it comes to advertisements that create “inappropriate sense of urgency”. This means that ads that make use of “bet now” advertisements and those that encourage players to play repetitively are going to be banned.

CAP also mentioned about the greater problem regarding gambling behaviors, especially of vulnerable groups. And though gambling rates have remained stable in the last few years according to CAP themselves, the market has grown tremendously ever since the enacted 2005 Gambling Act that liberalized the advertisement of the industry in the UK especially online.

In fact, in a study made by BBC, 95% of TV ad breaks during a live football event include at least one gambling advertisement. CAP mentioned that “Although the overall impact is small, the evidence points to potential risk factors in the form of claims, imagery or approaches that might unduly influence people to behave irresponsibly”.

They also added that “That’s why CAP is setting tougher standards to tackle any potential for harm. Ads must not play on individuals’ susceptibilities (financial concerns, self-esteem) or contain anything that might exploit vulnerable groups such as those with problem gambling issues”.

Targeting Free Bets

CAP is now ready to target those companies that offer ambiguous free bets. In fact, ElectraWorks, a gambling company, was fined £350,000 because of having misleading ads to its audience. GVA which owns ElectraWorks along with Foxy Bingo mentioned that these types of advertisements were already withdrawn since the fine and they have now complied with the rules and regulations.

This means that CAP will restrict advertisers that will ever claim that they are providing “risk free” deposits or those advertisements that encourage players to repetitively play.

Majority of the complaints about gambling advertisements involved consumers who were then forced to make a deposit before they can enjoy the “free bets” or even withdraw their winnings. Shahriar Coupal, who is the director of CAP mentioned that “we won’t tolerate gambling ads that exploit people’s vulnerabilities”.

First of Many Rules to Come

CAP isn’t exactly done with the regulatory changes. In fact, this is just the first of the many rules that CAP is planning to roll out in order to raise public awareness regarding the risks associated with gambling. New guidelines are aimed towards helping children from gambling.

This is definitely a good thing, especially for the consumers. In the long run, it provides them with advertisements that aren’t misleading. It also prevents problems from taking place.