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Gambling Hot topic

Gambling. It's an emotive subject and one that can polarise opinion. For some it may conjure up images of a sophisticated, suave and glamorous pursuit that takes place in a world of social high flyers; where huge sums are won and lost without consequence. For many, it is seen as a mainstream leisure activity, a bit of harmless fun that brings pleasure and excitement and that is enjoyed responsibly by the vast majority of people. For a small number of people however, gambling represents a social ill; a harmful addiction that can ruin lives.

Since September 2007, betting and gaming companies have been permitted to advertise across all media. The Committees of Advertising Practice (CAP) introduced strict content rules at the time to ensure that gambling products are advertised in a socially responsible way.

Among the key clauses, the rules state that advertisements for gambling must not:

  • portray, condone or encourage gambling behaviour that is socially irresponsible or could lead to financial, social or emotional harm; 
  • be likely to be of particular appeal to under 18s, especially by reflecting or being associated with youth culture; 
  • suggest that gambling can be a solution to financial concerns, an alternative to employment or a way to achieve financial security; 
  • exploit the susceptibilities, aspirations, credulity, inexperience or lack of knowledge of children, young persons or other vulnerable persons; 
  • link gambling to seduction, sexual success or enhanced attractiveness.


As the amount of ads has increased, so has the number of complaints to the ASA.   Moreover, as technology evolves, consumers are accessing gambling products in new and different ways such as online and via mobile devices.  

As a result we, the ASA, reviewed the enforcement of the gambling rules and CAP reviewed the latest evidence underpinning the gambling rules to ensure that consumers continue to be properly protected.For those advertisers who breach the regulations, they face referral by the ASA to Ofcom or the Gambling Commission for potential additional sanctions. 


For more information about the compliance rate of gambling ads, the ASA’s most recent compliance survey is available here.

For further information, please read the ASA Hot Topic on Gambling.

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