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CAP and BCAP amend rules on gambling adverts that appeal to under-18s

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United Kingdom

New rules are to be imposed on gambling advertisers following the consultation of the Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP) and the Broadcast Committee of Advertising Practice (BCAP) carried out in response to research by GambleAware.

Advertisers need to ensure that they comply with the new rules by 1 October 2022. Brands may also need to review their sponsorship and brand ambassador arrangements, particularly in light of the upcoming FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022.

What are the new requirements?

The CAP and BCAP code rules that govern gambling and lotteries ads will be amended.

The current rules prohibit adverts which are likely to appeal more to an under-18 than to an adult. The new rules prohibit ads for gambling and lotteries that have a "strong" appeal to under-18s, especially by reflecting or being associated with youth culture. This means that ads will be prohibited where the content (i.e. imagery, themes and characters) have a strong appeal to under-18s no matter how the ad would be viewed by adults.

What effect will this have?

This change could significantly restrict the content of gambling ads. For example, gambling advertisers will no longer be able to use:

  • sportspeople well-known to under-18s, including sportspeople with a considerable volume of under-18 followers on social media, such as topflight footballers;
  • video game content and gameplay popular with under-18s;
  • celebrities and reality show stars popular with under-18s; or
  • social media influencers who are of strong appeal to those under-18.

Are there any exceptions?

Some gambling and lottery ads that have a strong appeal for under-18s will be allowed where they fall under CAP and BCAP exemptions.

The rules do not prevent the advertising of gambling products associated with activities that are themselves of strong appeal to under-18s (for instance, certain sports or playing video games). However, advertisers can only rely on this where they have taken "appropriate steps" to limit the potential of the ad to strongly appeal to under-18s.

In relation to lotteries, ads may similarly depict the underlying activity, provided no person or character with strong appeal for under-18s is used. However, lottery ads may include a person or character with strong appeal for under-18s so long as the person is directly associated with a lottery for good causes (for example, an athlete who has received lottery funding directly) and certain other conditions are met (for example, there is no explicit encouragement to purchase a lottery product).

Is there any further guidance?

The CAP and BCAP have produced some helpful guidance on the new rules. The guidance includes a traffic light risk checklist which sets out specific risk scenarios of featuring different types of content, persons and characters.

Other industry changes to be aware of…

As part of reforming the UK gambling sector, the White Paper on the Gambling Act 2005 review is expected to be published by the Government later this year. Watch this space.

Co-authored by Victoria Dubenkova.

If you require any further information in relation to this area, please don’t hesitate to contact Rachel Bowley.
 

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