HomeInsightsCommittees of Advertising Practice launch public consultation on proposals to introduce new strengthened rules and guidance for gambling ads to protect children and young people

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CAP and BCAP are proposing to update their rules and guidance to further restrict the potential for gambling and lotteries ads to appeal to and adversely impact under-18s and vulnerable adults.

The consultation responds to key findings from recent research commissioned by GambleAware, which findings suggest that the creative content of gambling and lotteries advertising that abides by the UK Advertising Codes has more potential, than previously understood, to adversely impact under-18s and vulnerable adults.

In light of that, CAP is consulting on proposals to:

1. Strengthen the rules to prohibit creative content of gambling and lotteries ads from appealing “strongly” to under-18s (currently gambling ads are prohibited from appealing particularly to under-18s; in other words, they are banned from appealing more to under-18s than to adults):

 

  • a “strong” appeal test identifies content (imagery, themes and characters) that has a strong level of appeal to under-18s, regardless of how it is viewed by adults;
  • adopting the “strong” appeal test would decrease the potential for gambling ads to attract the attention of under-18s in an audience;
  • child-oriented content (such as animated characters and superheroes) are already banned; the new rules would extend to cover characters’ behaviour, language, fashion/appearance etc, which are likely to appeal strongly to under 18s;
  • in particular, ads would be prohibited from including a person or character who is likely to be followed by those aged under 18 years or who has a strong appeal to those aged under 18;
  • the new restriction would have significant implications for gambling advertisers looking to promote their brands using prominent sports people and celebrities, and also individuals like social media influencers; and

 

2. Update existing guidance to prohibit:

 

  • presenting complex bets in a way that emphasises the skill or intelligence involved to suggest, inappropriately, a level of control over the bet that is unlikely to apply in practice;
  • presenting gambling as a way to be part of a community based on skill;
  • implying that money back offers create security (for example, because they give gamblers the chance to play again if they fail or that a bet is ‘risk free’ or low risk);
  • humour or light-heartedness being used specifically to play down the risks of gambling; and
  • unrealistic portrayals of winners (for example, winning first time or easily).

CAP and BCAP say that the proposals seek to strike a proportionate and effective balance between allowing gambling operators freedom to advertise to a legitimate adult audience with the need to protect under-18s’ and vulnerable adults from the potential harms that can arise from gambling advertising that is irresponsible.

The consultation closes at 5 pm on 22 January 2021. To access the consultation, click here.