BGLC, the Betting, Gaming and Lotteries Commission of Jamaica, has been ordered to review rules and standards applied to gambling advertising in the Caribbean nation.
The Commission has launched a public consultation on gambling advertising, as concerns have been raised on a “noticeable rise in the volume and style of gambling related marketing and advertising” due to a more competitive market targeting Jamaican consumers.
Since 2019, Jamaica has witnessed significant changes in its gambling make-up, as ‘traditional’ racing parlours have been replaced by ‘readily available’ betting locations (163 venues), lottery outlets (2207) and gaming machines (17500) expanding their presence in the island.
National stakeholders were notified that the BGLC is “actively considering a proposal to implement fresh regulations for the promotion and advertising of gambling and related products in Jamaica”.
The Commission, supported by local agencies Hope Caribbean Co and Bluedot, conducted research focusing on the prevalence of gambling, links between gambling advertising, and awareness of gambling risks in Jamaica.
Research findings on prevalence detailed that over 61% of respondents engaged in gambling in the past 12 months, with “Over 50% of participants indicated they were under the age of 25 (31% aged 19-24; 21% between 14-18).”
Of significance the BGLC detailed direct concerns of Jamaican Schools “requesting interventions for students involved with gambling” – pointing to a need for increased social awareness and intervention strategies to address the growing impact of gambling on younger demographics.
The BGLC has endorsed new advertising rules that all communications must “avoid misleading or misrepresentative imagery and wording”, and clearly show that gambling is restricted to +18 audiences.
All gambling promotions/communications must showcase a “play responsibly” message. Additionally, any portrayal of individuals in gambling adverts must not include or appear to include anyone under the age of 25, except in locations inaccessible to those under 18.
The consultation will conduct a review of current advertising practices, as respondents became aware of gambling through marketing, with concerns about misleading or untruthful advertising.
The new guidelines for responsible gambling advertising are set to be introduced by 1 April 2024, in which the BGLC aims “to ensure socially responsible standards, clear communication of risks, truthful marketing, and protection of vulnerable groups from excessive exposure to gambling content”.