David Clifton is quoted in an iGaming Business article by Scott Longley, entitled “It’s a shame about Ray”, about the new CAP guidance aimed at restricting “Bet Now” offers such as bet365’s long-running and hugely successful TV advertising campaigns. That article can be downloaded below.
Our assessment of the position in relation to such advertisements is as follows:
The focus of the new CAP guidance is on advertisements that are “presented in such a way that creates an unjustifiable sense of urgency”. This raises the question whether all advertising of in-play betting is inappropriate? If so, it would create the anomalous position of a ban on a form of betting that (according to the Gambling Commission’s September 2016 “In-play (in-running) betting: position paper”) does not represent “such a significant risk to the licensing objectives that additional measures are required”. In that paper (that can also be downloaded below), the Commission said that it does not consider that “someone who bets in-play is automatically at increased risk of harm from gambling”. So surely it needs more than just the words “Bet Now!” to either (a) create an inappropriate or unjustifiable sense of urgency or (b) unduly pressurise someone to gamble when they otherwise would not, for example some accompanying encouragement to place a bet quickly before time runs out?
The new guidance indicates that examples of “trivialisation of gambling” are encouragement:
- of repetitive or frequent participation, raising the questions:
- Is a fifteen-minute market acceptable whereas a five-minute market is not?
- Does an advert inviting a customer to play at a gaming machine or electronic roulette terminal in a casino encourage unacceptable levels of repetitive play?
- Where does the line get drawn?
- for people to gamble more than they otherwise would or to spend more than they can afford, which is very subjective dependent on each individual’s personal circumstances.
We accordingly read the ”trivialisation” section of the new guidance as requiring responsible gambling messaging within adverts to make it clear that the decision to gamble should not be taken lightly. We suspect this is what is meant too when the guidance says “marketers …. should exercise caution when encouraging people to take advantage of promotions or opening accounts”.