New standards for gambling adverts and children

Posted on Wednesday February 20, 2019

From 1 April 2019, gambling operators will come under new stricter standards which aim to stop young people from engaging in irresponsible gambling.  This follows recent guidance for advertisers being introduced by the Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP).

It has been reported that a recent UK study suggested 450,000 11 to 16-year-olds gamble regularly. Gambling adverts from Coral and William Hill have been deemed as appealing to children, which led to complaints being made to the Advertising Standards Authority.

Some particular standards which gambling operators should note are:

  • Not to use sports players, celebrities or other characters who appear to be under the age of 25 in gambling advertisements.
  • Not to use online adverts for gambling products which are targeted at individuals who are likely to be under the age of 18.
  • To use all tools available to them on a social network platform to prevent targeting adverts to under 18-year-olds.

The Director of the Committees of Advertising Practice, Shahriar Coupal, commented on the issue as follows: “Playing at the margins of regulatory compliance is a gamble at the best of times, but for gambling advertisers, it’s particularly ill-advised, especially when the welfare of children is at stake. Our new standards respond to the latest evidence and lessons from ASA rulings, and require that greater care is taken in the placement and content of gambling ads to ensure they are not inadvertently targeted at under 18s.”

The new standards will mean that various famous footballers cannot feature in gambling adverts due to their age. A football club’s website should not place any gambling adverts on pages which are aimed at younger supporters.

For advice on advertising law and in particular advertising in the Sports sector, please contact our Commercial team.