This includes outputs from parts of the consultation relating to:
- Newly strengthened guidance on the protection of adult audiences; and
- technical updates to the introductory parts of the UK Advertising Codes’ gambling sections.
CAP and BCAP commit to delivering the final outcome of the consultation, including consideration of proposals for new rules on the protection of under-18s by the end of 2021.
Proposals for tougher rules on UK gambling ads
Published in October, the consultation included several proposed changes to boost protections in response to findings in the GambleAware research, along with technical updates to support Code users’ understanding of:
- New rules on appeal of content to under-18s – The consultation proposed new rules to restrict the creative content of gambling and lotteries ads to further limit their potential to appeal to under-18s.
- Revisions to the responsibility and problem gambling guidance – The consultation proposed several revisions to the Gambling advertising: responsibility and problem gambling guidance. These seek to reduce the likelihood of gambling and lotteries advertising appealing irresponsibly through their content and general messaging to vulnerable adults, principally adults with problem gambling-related issues.
- Considering the case for new media placement restrictions – The consultation invited comments on CAP and BCAP’s assessment of the GambleAware recommendation for considering new restrictions on the scheduling, placement and targeting of gambling advertisements.
- Technical updates to the Codes – The consultation also included proposed technical changes to the introductory parts of the gambling sections of the UK Advertising Codes to ensure they are up to date with the underlying legal framework and to improve clarity for Code users. These proposals do not entail a change in advertising policy.
The consultation yielded a significant number of detailed responses focusing in particular on how a ‘strong’ appeal-based rule to further restrict the appeal of creative content to under-18s would work in practice. Assessment of the consultation feedback is well advanced, and CAP and BCAP commit to announcing the outcome of this part of the consultation in Q4 2021. Because they both concern the protection of under-18s, the outcome of the Committees’ consideration of the case for new media placement restrictions will be published at the same time.
In the interim, CAP and BCAP are keen to implement the finalised outcomes of the parts of the consultation on revisions to the guidance and technical updates to the Code, particularly as the guidance revisions provide increased protections for adult audiences.
Revised responsibility guidance
CAP and BCAP already have extensive guidance that restricts the use of ad content that might give rise to erroneous perceptions of risk and control among the audience. It’s commonly accepted in the evidence that people should avoid making decisions to participate in gambling when their expectations of the risks involved might lead them to make unwise choices. New provisions, drawing on insights from the GambleAware research now restrict ads that:
- present complex bets or other gambling products in a way that emphasises the skill, knowledge or intelligence involved and could therefore lead to erroneous perceptions of risk or control;
- present gambling as a way to be part of a community based on skill; or
- state or imply that offers (such as those involving money back, ‘free’ bets or bonuses, or enhanced odds) are a way to reduce risk.
The revised guidance also includes further provisions and examples that reinforce the need for gambling advertising to avoid encouragements based on creating a sense of impulsiveness and urgency, messages that trivialise decisions to participate in gambling, and marketing approaches that play on people’s financial concerns.
The revised guidance will come into effect in November 2021.
Technical updates to the Codes
It’s important that Code users have the information they need to understand CAP and BCAP’s rules and where they fit into wider regulatory frameworks; especially, for licensed products like gambling, which are subject to dedicated statutory oversight under the auspices of the Gambling Commission.
The Committees have updated the introductory parts of the UK Advertising Codes’ gambling sections to make them clearer and to provide more clarity on issues such as jurisdictional considerations for different areas within the UK and the Crown Dependencies where different underlying statutory regimes exist for advertising subject to the Codes.
Read CAP and BCAP’s regulatory statement on the changes now.