Gambling Commission issues advertising and sponsorship rules reminder

Another day and another posting on the Gambling Commission’s website – the third in successive days.

This time around, the Commission is saying that it has teamed up with the Advertising Standards Authority (“ASA”) and the Committees of Advertising Practice (“CAP”) to remind licence holders of some of the key rules and requirements relating to gambling advertising and sport sponsorship.

The following “reminders” appear on the Commission’s website:

Gambling adverts on football club websites: Operators must make sure their adverts or sponsorship links do not appear on football website pages that are targeted at children. For example, the junior sections of the club’s website.

Gambling logos on under 18s football shirts: Operators should make sure that they do not allow their logos or other promotional material to appear on any commercial merchandising (eg replica shirts) which is designed for use by children. Operators must also take account of Football Association rules which require that in the case of teams comprising players all under the age of 18, that gambling logos must not appear on any item of kit or clothing.

Terms and conditions: The ASA regularly receives complaints where consumers do not feel the terms and conditions for offers have been made clear. Gambling firms must read the ASA’s specific guidance on Gambling ads: free bets and bonuses and its article on Promotional marketing: Terms and Conditions (T&Cs), which explains how conditions should be made clear to consumers. In addition to this, we also expect firms to ensure their promotions are not misleading and are in line with recent findings by the Competition and Market Authority.

Advertising that appeals to under 18s: It is not acceptable for gambling websites to display freely accessible ads, which feature images that are likely to appeal particularly to under 18s. Last year, we issued a joint warning to online gambling firms. Firms must read the ASA’s updated advice on betting and gaming which may appeal to children and review the guidance published by the ASA in November 2017.

Advertising and problem gambling: Gambling firms must ensure advertising does not appeal to or target problem gamblers. This includes advertising that creates an inappropriate sense of urgency, such as “Bet Now!” during live events, and undue emphasis on money-motives to gamble. Earlier this year, CAP announced tougher standards on gambling advertising, which all firms should abide by.

It is pointed out that:

The Commission also reminds operators that new rules coming into force from 31 October 2018 (about which we have previously reported here), mean that gambling companies that break advertising rules or breach consumer law will face tougher regulatory action. The Commission says that these “new requirements provide stronger protection for consumers and ensure they are treated fairly by gambling businesses and make it easier for the Commission to take action, including imposing fines, against gambling businesses that break advertising rules”.

This topic is also the subject of David Clifton’s current monthly Licensing Expert article for SBC News entitled “More of the same with yet more to come …”