ASA’s new guidelines set to protect problem gamblers

UK advertising regulators CAP and BCAP are ready to roll out new standards, set to come into force on 1 April, which will change the ways in which gambling operators can promote their products.

The new advertising standards will prevent the display of online adverts for gambling products and services that uses data on consumer online interests and browsing behaviour that may be targeted towards minors and those susceptible to gambling-related harm.

In a letter sent to the former Minister for Sport Tourism and Heritage, Tracey Crouch, the Chief Executive of the Advertising Standards Agency (ASA), detailed: “From Q2, CAP will focus on protections for problem gamblers, people at risk of problem gambling and others who might be vulnerable to problem gambling behaviours.”

The new strategy is primarily aimed at limiting the accessibility of gambling advertisements to minors, with plans to “extensively list unacceptable types of content, including certain types of animated characters, licensed characters from movies or TV and sportspeople and celebrities that are likely to be of particular appeal to children, and references to youth culture”.

ASA’s guidelines will add to “existing guidance on the responsible targeting of ads, covering all media (including social networks and other online platforms)”, by also prohibiting the use of celebrity endorsement from those under the age of 25.

The guidelines detail: “Gambling-like games or games that feature elements of simulated gambling activity are often popular with children and young people.

“Such games should not be used to promote real money gambling products, for instance, by offering a trial version that plays a similar role to an advergame. Where social and online games feature marketing communications for gambling games, they should not be directed at under-18s.”

“Gambling operators sometimes feature sports people or celebrities in marketing communications. This can often be through an endorsement agreement between the operator and the individual. Such individuals who are or appear to be under 25 are explicitly prohibited from appearing in gambling marketing communications by CAP Code rule 16.3.14 and BCAP Code rule 17.4.6.”

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