Government launch Consultation around online gambling

31 October 2017
One of the key aims of the Consultation is to minimise the risks that online gambling and related advertising has to the most vulnerable in our society

Today saw the launch of a new Government Consultation on Gaming Machines and Social Responsibility Measures.

While most of the media attention has been on proposals around FOBTs, the Consultation includes measures to ensure stronger protections around online gambling and a new industry-led responsible gambling advertising campaign.

One of the key aims of the Consultation is to minimise the risks that online gambling and related advertising has to the most vulnerable in our society. While research outlined in the Consultation suggests that the impact of advertising on 'problem gambling' is 'relatively small', the Government has indicated that more should be done by operators and those who benefit from gambling.

As such, there are a number of measures and initiatives proposed in the document that advertisers should be aware of.

Codes, Social Responsibility and Unfair Terms:

  • The Gambling Commission will consult on making compliance with existing advertising codes a social responsibility code requirement of its LCCP, meaning that breaches could be subject to the full range of the Commission’s regulatory powers
  • The Commission is also supporting a CMA investigation into unfair terms and misleading practices around sign-up/free bet promotions
  • The Commission is also looking to encourage social media companies to develop user-friendly guides on limiting exposure to gambling advertising via platform settings and preferences
  • Tougher and financial sanctions for breaches of the CAP and BCAP content codes have been suggested by campaign groups arguing that stopping adverts was insufficient

Online advertising, targeting and social media

  • GAMSTOP is due to be in place by the end of the year, allowing consumers to self-exclude from all online gambling (including marketing databases) operators in a single step
  • The IGRG has strengthened the Industry Code, requiring operators to age-gate gambling content and gambling channels on social media

Responsible Gambling Advertising Campaign

  • A new campaign to raise awareness of the risks associated with gambling, plus the support measures available has been proposed by GambleAware, broadcasters and industry groups.
  • The Government is encouraging others who benefit from gambling advertising to contribute

Impact on children and young people

  • New research has been commissioned to explore what influence/impact advertising has on children and young people and their attitudes towards gambling
  • The research is will help inform the development of guidance and protections going forward

The full consultation is available to view here. It is open for 12 weeks, closing on 23 January 2018.

ISBA represents the UK’s leading advertisers, including a number of well-known gambling organisations. We provide advice and guidance on responsible advertising to all our members, including gambling advertisers. We support the current strict controls around advertising for gambling and look forward to consulting with our members on the new guidance from CAP/BCAP addressing risks of problem gambling risks, as and when it becomes available.

Next Steps

We expect CAP/BCAP to bring new draft guidance to protect those at risk from problem gambling to its next meeting in November. ISBA will be represented at the meeting.

If you have any questions please contact Tanya Joseph.

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