UK advertising regulator to ban targeted in-play ads
UK regulatory body the Committee of Advertising Practice has moved to ban adverts that appeal to problem gamblers, including targeted in-play sports betting offers.
Setting out a new code that advertisers in the UK must abide by, the rules now include host of restrictions, including a ban on ads that “exploit people’s vulnerabilities or play fast and loose with eye-catching free bet and bonus offers”.
Overseen by the Advertising Standards Authority, the code also sets out a ban on adverts that “create an inappropriate sense of urgency, like those including ‘bet now!’ offers during live events.”
The regulator is also clamping down on the “trivialisation of gambling” and an emphasis on giving punters “money motives” for gambling, while adverts that give an “irresponsible perception of risk or control” will be banned.
In addition, gambling companies will be told to be more responsible in regard to offering free bets and bonuses, in a move that reflects a message from the UK Competition and Market Authority.
The new code will come into effect from April 2, although standards applying to free bets and standards will be applicable from tomorrow (Thusday).
Shahriar Coupal, director of the Committee of Advertising Practice, said: “We won’t tolerate gambling ads that exploit people’s vulnerabilities or play fast and loose with eye-catching free bet and bonus offers.
“Our new guidance takes account of the best available evidence to strengthen the protections already in place, ensuring that gambling is presented responsibly, minimising the potential for harm.”
The Committee of Advertising Practice intends to follow up on this with further announcements later this year regarding the protection of children and young people.
Meanwhile, the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) has fined GVC-owned ElectraWorks £350,000 (€392,700/$484,900) for “repeatedly misleading consumers” via adverts.
In a statement, the UKGC said the charge related to adverts for free bonuses with online gambling business ElectraWorks.
In August 2016, the UK’s Advertising Standards Authority upheld a complaint against the firm following the appearance of an advert offering a free bonus on its Bwin.com site.
The UKGC said this breached its codes that state all licensees must abide by any relevant provisions of the Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP) code and the Broadcast Committee of Advertising Practice (BCAP) code, when advertising free vets, bonuses or similar offers.
Also in August 2016, the UKGC discovered another advert on the Bwin site that breached the same code, although ElectraWorks later removed the ad after it was alerted to the issue.
However, in April 2017 the UKGC identified discovered six similar breaches on the company’s CasinoKing.com, CasinoLasVegas.com, NobleVasino.com, Partycasino.com, PartyPoker.com and SCasino.com sites.
The same breaches where found again on the same sites in June of 2017, and a similar breach was identified on the ElectraWorks’ CasinoLasVegas.com site in August.
ElectraWorks has now been fined and given a formal warning by the UKGC “for failing to ensure that the person responsible for marketing at the business holds a personal management licence”.
Richard Watson, programme director at the UKGC, said: “This fine should serve a warning to all gambling businesses that we will not hesitate to take action against those who mislead consumers with bonus offers or fail to ensure they are correctly licensed.”
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