HomeInsightsCAP announces new set of advertising standards to mitigate problem gambling risk and clarify bonus terms

Today, the Committees of Advertising Practice (CAP and BCAP) published new standards on gambling advertising, with a particular focus on mitigating potential harms associated with problem gambling and on the offer of free bets and bonuses:

(i) Free bets and bonuses

The new standards on free bets and bonuses comes hot on the heels of the of CMA’s press release announcing the end of the first stage of its investigation into the remote gambling industry, and are intended to help advertisers understand the ASA, CAP/BCAP and Gambling Commission’s position regarding acceptable claims and how terms and conditions should be displayed or signposted. In particular:

  • Significant conditions must always be prominently displayed with an advertised offer;
  • Other terms and conditions need to be, at most, one click away from the advertising;
  • “Money back” offers must be in cash and not bonuses;
  • “Risk free” offers must incur no loss to the player and any stake limitation for a “matched bet” should be treated as a significant condition.

The free bets and bonuses standards come into effect today and the ASA will use these standards when considering all future complaints about ads.

(ii) Ads’ appeal to problem gamblers

The Gambling advertising: responsibility and problem gambling standards aim to ensure that ads remain “responsible with a particular focus on mitigating potential harms associated with problem gambling”. Although the CAP / BCAP codes already contain general provisions and specific rules around encouragement of irresponsible gambling behaviour, CAP and BCAP have developed this guidance to enhance those protections.

New provisions will:

  • Restrict ads that create an inappropriate sense of urgency (e.g. encouraging people to “Bet Now!” during live events);
  • Curb the trivialisation of gambling (e.g. encouraging repetitive play);
  • Prevent approaches that give an erroneous perception of the risk or control (e.g. “Risk Free Deposit Bonus”);
  • Provide greater detail on problem gambling behaviours and associated behaviours that should not be portrayed (even indirectly);
  • Prevent undue emphasis on “money-motives” for gambling; and
  • Provide greater detail on vulnerable groups like problem gamblers that marketers need to work to protect.

These new standards will come into effect on 2 April 2018.

CAP is expected to publish further guidance focussing on the protection of children and young people later this year.