July 24, 2017
CAP has published an advice note on the use of non-broadcast affiliate marketing for gambling products. The guidance is intended to highlight some of the main considerations for gambling operators when advertising via affiliate channels, and serves to remind the industry that it is the operator that remains primarily responsible for adherence to the CAP Code in its marketing communications.
Ads must be socially responsible
Gambling advertising must not be directed at those under the age of 18 and marketers must be able to demonstrate that they have taken reasonable steps to place or target their ads appropriately (Rule 16.3.6). For social media this is likely to go beyond just age-gating and requires operators, and their affiliates, to be able to evidence that the overall demographic of followers is 18 and over.
Moreover, ‘age-gating’ or ‘targeting’ over 18s will not be sufficient means by which advertisers of gambling demonstrate their ads are socially responsible: the content of the advertisement must also be responsible.
Rule 2.1 of the CAP Code requires that marketing communications are obviously identifiable as such. CAP recommends that where this isn’t clear through the context alone, a label such as “Ad” should be prominently displayed so as to inform consumers.
CAP also reiterates that marketers ensure that significant conditions for promotions are communicated where the omission is likely to mislead (Rule 8.17), citing the ASA Ruling on Ladbrokes Betting & Gaming Ltd (31 August 2016).
What does it mean?
The guidance comes at a time when marketing affiliates are an area of regulatory focus in the UK, but is not representative of a change in interpretation or approach. Following in the footsteps of the Commission in its decision notice on advertising failings against BGO, the note highlights the importance of gambling operators taking responsibility for the actions of third parties.
The full advice note can be found here.