UK Gambling Operators Facing Tougher Restrictions

The Committee of Advertising Practice just brought grave news for UK’s gambling operators. Depending on how the public responds, operators could lose their pitchmen soon due to new strengthened rules and guidance for gambling ads. In simple terms, the CAP is hoping to protect children and young people by restricting gambling ads in a move that may be confirmed in early 2021.

It’s yet another big blow to the UK’s thriving gambling industry. Earlier this year, the UKGC banned the use of credit cards in online casinos to protect vulnerable gamblers. With the possible upcoming ads ban, it could be a massive blow that may put an end to some gambling operators.

The Consultation Follows a GambleAware Report

A few months earlier, a GambleAware report released online suggest that online gambling ads may have a greater impact on individuals younger than 18 than previously thought. The CAP based its upcoming consultation on that report, seeking the input of proposals to prohibit gambling and lottery marketing that appeals to players under 18. Currently, existing rules state ads can’t target audiences under 18, but with the upcoming ban, restrictions could be even tougher.

At the moment, the CAP defines ‘strong’ appeal as marketing content that appeals to players under 18 regarding on how its viewed by adults. The current rules prohibit the appearance of buff superheroes or animated characters. With the new proposed rule changes, any character behaviour or appearance that will have a strong appeal to players under 18 will be strictly prohibited.

If voted, the changes will ban real-life characters that have a massive following in the under 18 group. Made-up characters that appeal to the same group will also be banned from appearing in gambling ads due to their strong appeal. Such a restriction will certainly have a significant impact on operator ads that feature celebrities and athletes as well as social media influencers.

The Same Appeal Definition from Alcohol Marketing Guidelines

The strong appeal definition is lifted from alcohol marketing guidelines. Alcohol ads are forbidden to depict themes that are associated with youth culture, including youth slang and music or dance that appeals to the under 18 group. It has been pretty successful so far, and the new gambling ads guidelines could follow in their footsteps.

Nothing has been processed yet – the first CAP consultations will be held in January 2021. However, the suggestions will certainly deal UK’s online gambling industry a huge blow, one that may be too much to bear for many operators.