CAP and BCAP are amending their guidance about protecting adult audiences of gambling advertising. 

The advertising regulators have published an interim statement on the progress of their consultation on the findings of the GambleAware Final Synthesis Report, which focused on gambling advertising that carried out at the end of last year.

The consultation was launched in October 2020 and included the following key points:

  • New rules to restrict the creative content of gambling and lotteries ads to further limit their potential to appeal to under-18s.
  • Revisions to the responsibility and problem gambling guidance aimed at reducing the likelihood of gambling and lotteries advertising appealing irresponsibly through their content and general messaging to vulnerable adults, principally adults with problem gambling-related issues.
  • Considering the case for new restrictions on the scheduling, placement and targeting of gambling advertisements – there were many responses on this issue and the final outcome will be published in the autumn alongside the outcome about limiting appeal to under 18s.
  • Technical updates to the Codes: these would aim to ensure that the Codes are up to date with the underlying legal framework and to improve clarity for Code users (although they would not change advertising policy).

The final outcome of the consultation (which includes the consideration of proposed rules on the protection of under-18s) will be published by the end of 2021. In the meantime, CAP and BCAP wish to implement the changes that they have already finalised.  The current guidance about restricting the use of ad content that might give rise to erroneous perceptions of risk and control among the audience will now be extended to restrict ads that:

  • present complex bets or other gambling products in a way that emphasises the skill, knowledge or intelligence involved and could therefore lead to erroneous perceptions of risk or control;
  • present gambling as a way to be part of a community based on skill; or
  • state or imply that offers (such as those involving money back, ‘free’ bets or bonuses, or enhanced odds) are a way to reduce risk.

The revised guidance also includes further provisions and examples that reinforce the need for gambling advertising to avoid encouragements based on creating a sense of impulsiveness and urgency, messages that trivialise decisions to participate in gambling, and marketing approaches that play on people’s financial concerns.

The revised guidance will come into effect in November 2021 and is another stage in the increasing regulation of gambling advertising and gambling more generally in the UK.