The Gambling Commission’s decision to fine BGO £300,000 over its advertising is a warning that the regulator is serious about advertising and consumer protection, says Bahar Alaeddini of Harris Hagan.
The Gambling Commission’s decision to fine UK operator BGO £300,000 for breaching marketing and advertising codes should serve as a warning to other operators that the regulator is serious about advertising and consumer protection, says Bahar Alaeddini of Harris Hagan. On 2 May, 2017 the UK Gambling Commission published a decision following a review of BGO Entertainment Limited’s (BGO) remote operating licence in relation to breaches of conditions relating to marketing and advertising on its own website and three affiliate websites. BGO was fined £300,000, demonstrating the Commission’s further strengthening of its focus on consumer protection. This is a landmark decision because it is the first financial penalty imposed by the Commission for advertising failings. Marketing checklist
- In summary, in relation to all marketing and advertising activities, Commission licensees are required to comply with the following: the British Code of Advertising, Sales Promotion and Direct Marketing (the CAP Code), which applies to non-broadcast advertising;
- the Television and Radio Advertising Standards Code (the BCAP Code), which applies to broadcast advertising;
- the Gambling Industry Code of Socially Responsible Advertising, which applies to all gambling advertising in the UK (the Industry Code); and
- the Commission’s own licence conditions and codes of practice (LCCP).
- take timely and effective action to address the LCCP breaches; and
- provided inaccurate assurances that the problems had been addressed.
- understanding and applying the rules relating to advertising, as set out in the LCCP, the CAP/BCAP codes and the associated guidance on the rules for gambling advertisements;
- taking responsibility for the actions of third parties such as affiliates, by making sure that the marketing material they use is not misleading;
- always working with the Commission in an open and transparent way; and
- coming forward and making full disclosure of all the relevant facts relating to an investigation, at as early a stage as possible, to achieve compliance without a regulatory review.
- their marketing and advertising (including websites) to ensure compliance;
- how they manage their affiliates and ways to improve;
- contractual arrangements with affiliates; and
- internal and/or affiliate training needs.