The beginning of next month will see a new set of rules introduced for many market-leading brands to better protect under-18’s from viewing gambling-related advertising content.
The Betting and Gaming Council (which is more commonly referred to as the BGC) has just created its Sixth Industry Code for Socially Responsible Advertising due to a requirement to keep the existing code “updated as technology evolves”.
The BGC’s chief executive, Michael Dugher, says that its members (which include representatives from operators like Bet365 and Betfair) have a “zero-tolerance attitude” to underage gambling. To help protect minors from seeing gambling advertisements everywhere, from on TV to social media, they have created a new code to help promote safer gambling. This comes hot on the heels of the ASA highlighting gambling firms as the weakest at preventing the show of ads to children in the last 12 months.
As well as working alongside responsible, UK-licenced gambling operators, the BGC wants the UK government to help it “crackdown on black market operators who have no interest in safer gambling or protecting their customers”.
What are the key requirements of the new code?
The main additions to the BGC’s Sixth Industry Code for Socially Responsible Advertising are as follows:
- YouTube users will be unable to view gambling ads without using age-verified accounts to ensure that under-18s are protected
- Ads relating to gambling that appear on search engines such as Bing and Google will need to make clear that they are for viewers over the age of 18. Plus, any such ads must include safer gambling messages
- Unless the advertiser can prove that its content is targeted at adults, any social media advertisements must be aimed at those aged 25 or above
- BGC members are expected to regularly post responsible gambling messages on their Twitter accounts
- Gambling firms must adhere to the ‘whistle-to-whistle” TV advertising ban that stops adverts being shown during live sports broadcasts. Plus, at least 20% of all gambling-related TV and radio adverts must consist of messages about safer gambling.
Mr Dugher further commented on the new rules:
“We are committed to driving up standards within the betting and gaming industry. The latest edition of the Industry Code is further evidence of our determination to ensure standards are rising as technology continues to evolve.”
Who are the members of the BGC?
This year’s membership of the Betting and Gaming Council includes a number of the best-known operators in the British gambling industry, including:
- White Hat Gaming
- Paddy Power
- Sky Betting and Gaming
- GVC PLC (Ladbrokes-Coral)
- Rank Group
- Genting Casinos
- Blueprint Gaming
- Evolution Gaming
- Scientific Games
All members must adhere to the BGC’s Code as a condition of their membership and must make an annual declaration to state that their business is fully committed to and compliant with the Code.
The Council is run by an Executive Committee, membership of which is elected at the AGM.
This year’s Executive Committee is headed by Brigid Simmonds OBE who is a former trustee of GambleAware and spent 10 years as Chief Executive of the British Beer and Pub Association.
What’s the difference between the ASA and the BGC?
Although the Advertising Standards Authority has the power to issue warnings to gambling operators about age-appropriate advertising, it also relies on industry representations such as the Betting and Gaming Council to help it enforce its messages and guidance.