Collaboration is key: GC guidance for consumers on controlling the amount of gambling-related content on Twitter

Several recent conferences examining current trends in the gambling sector, including during ICE last week in London, have discussed the need for collaboration within the industry. The Gambling Commission/Twitter Guidance for consumers is, therefore, a timely example.

It has taken some time, a number of ASA adjudications and a few iterations of CAP Guidance but hopefully everyone in the industry is now aware that the CAP Code applies to ads appearing on social media where the post is under the advertiser’s control – much of what an operator tweets is likely to be advertising.

Even when operators comply with the CAP Code, ensuring the use of #ad to identify ads posted on their behalf or using data to include or exclude individuals on the basis of age or other relevant criteria, the availability of gambling ads on an individual’s Twitter feed is not always welcome.

The GC and the industry as a whole have been under pressure from a variety of angles to ensure that gambling, including its advertising, is responsible. Last week it produced guidance for consumers on controlling the level of gambling-related content that they see on Twitter.

The guidance explains the different ways in which Twitter’s safety tools and settings can be adjusted within an individual account, to help mitigate the risk of exposure to gambling-related messaging and advertisements. The plan is to roll-out guidance for other social media platforms too.

On the one hand, it seems only fair in the personalised world that there should be an opportunity for consumers to have some choice about what advertising they receive and perhaps by promoting this choice, the GC can help to improve the perception of the industry. However, the danger of this approach is that whilst this will work well for those who are pro-active in the management of their ad personalisation, there is a reliance on the part of a consumer to help itself – not at all unreasonable but an approach which will, no doubt, attract criticism from some camps.

Whatever you think about the efforts of the GC and Twitter in arming the consumer with its own tools, and the effectiveness of that across all groups of Twitter users, it is important to recognise this has been described as something of an interim measure. New standards and technology are still central to the GC’s plan to aid responsible gambling – and so with that in mind, perhaps these first signs of collaboration between the regulator and a social media platform deserve to be celebrated.