BGC calls on social media to stop ‘undermining’ safer gambling efforts

BGC calls on social media to stop ‘undermining’ safer gambling effort

The Betting and Gaming Council (BGC) has argued for greater cooperation with the industry from social media platforms, whilst requesting that the government echo its calls. 

SBC News BGC calls on social media to stop ‘undermining’ safer gambling effort
Lucy Frazer MP, DCMS Secretary

In a letter to DCMS Secretary Lucy Frazer, BGC Chief Executive Michael Dugher pointed to previous industry efforts on social platforms enabling users to opt-out of receiving betting and gaming advertising.

However, more needs to be done, Dugher argued. In particular, BGC members require further cooperation from social media to deliver more effective messaging, specifically for GAMSTOP registered self-excluded bettors.

An ideal outcome for the BGC would be the creation of a ‘marketing suppression scheme’ to stop the more than 300,000 GAMSTOP registered consumers from receiving direct marketing from operators on social media. 

“This is impossible to achieve without the cooperation of the social media platforms themselves,” Dugher asserted in his letter to the DCMS Secretary.

“This is a sensible solution, which BGC members are keen on implementing, but we cannot do so without the cooperation of social media platforms.

“I would urge you to help on this matter by calling on social media platforms to finally cooperate with the BGC and make the relevant functionality available, so we can help protect the most vulnerable.”

Social media platforms have not been entirely inactive regarding social responsibility and betting advertising. For example, Snapchat UK introduced a feature back in July 2021 allowing users to opt-out of gambling marketing. Search engine Google also allows YouTube users to block betting adverts.

At the time of the Snapchat feature launch, the BGC stated that it had worked ‘closely’ with Snapchat parent company Snap. Dugher added that he ‘would urge all social media and search platforms’ to do the same.

Two years later, the BGC is reiterating its arguments at a time when betting industry marketing and advertising methods have fallen under an increasingly bright public and political spotlight.

Whilst the Gambling Act review White Paper focused more on social responsibility, compliance and RET funding rather than marketing, the Advertising Standards Agency (ASA) has been active in clamping down on certain operator practices.

For example, the ASA ruled against BetVictor for a Facebook advert featuring FC Barcelona players, Jordi Alba and Sergio Busquets. This was due to the ad going against Committee on Advertising Practice (CAP) standards on the use of active athletes in marketing material.

Under the BGC’s current social media standards for the industry, its member operators – which includes the likes of Entain, bet365, Flutter Entertainment and William Hill – must target adverts at over-25s unless a platform can verify evidence of targeting to over-18s.

Additionally, the standards body and trade association’s code of conduct prevents the posting of direct marketing, betting odds or links to bookmaker websites on football clubs social media accounts. This is due to the large under-18 following these accounts often have.

However, the BGC maintains that any further efforts are being ‘undermined’ by a lack of cooperation from social media, and hopes that its suggestions will be taken on board by the DCMS as the White Paper’s recommendations are rolled out.

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