By James Lees of Amber Gaming (Isle of Man)
This document has been produced for your information only and is for general guidance on the relevant subject matter contained within. It is in no way to be considered inclusive of all requirements and is by its nature, just guidance. It is not under any circumstances to be deemed a substitute for any professional legal, tax or other advice and Amber Gaming accepts no liability whatsoever for any consequences or ramifications for your reliance on it. If you decide to act upon any information contained within this document you do so at your own risk. Whilst the information contained within has been verified and updated to the best of our abilities, we cannot guarantee there are no mistakes, errors, or outdated information.On 6th August 2021, the Committees of Advertising Practice (“CAP”) and the Broadcast Committee of Advertising Practice (“BCAP”) published revised guidance on Gambling Advertising, which will come into effect from 1st November 2021. This update to the guidance draws upon findings from GambleAware research published in March 2020 into the effect of gambling marketing and advertising on children, young people and vulnerable adults. As a result of this research, CAP & BCAP launched a consultation in October 2020 with the aim of responding to the key findings from the research.
The consultation generated a significant number of responses which are still being assessed by CAP & BCAP, with a commitment to announcing the full outcome of the consultation in Q4 2021.
CAP & BCAP were however keen to publish and implement the finalised outcomes of the consultation relating to revisions in the gambling advertising guidance, particularly as the guidance revisions provide increased protection for adult audiences. Interim findings have therefore been published to allow the outcomes to be implemented.
As a result, operators should acquaint themselves with the changes and ensure that the developments are integrated into its policies and controls ahead of 1st November 2021.
AMENDMENTS TO GUIDANCE
The consultation has resulted in several amendments to the guidance, which are highlighted in red below:
4.2 Erroneous perceptions of risk and control
Marketing communications should avoid approaches that give erroneous perceptions of the level of risk involved or the extent of a gambler’s control over a bet or gambling in general.
The following approaches are likely to encourage gambling behaviour that is socially irresponsible or could lead to financial, social or emotional harm and would therefore breach these rules:
4.3 Impulsiveness and urgency
In order not to encourage gambling behaviour that is irresponsible, marketing communications should not unduly pressure the audience to gamble, especially when gambling opportunities offered are subject to a significant time limitation. Offers such as live odds or in-play betting – where time limits exist naturally due to the nature of an event – should not be presented in such a way that creates an unjustifiable sense of urgency. The same applies to other very short-term promotions where time limits are set by marketers themselves. In such instances, urgent calls to action (for instance, “Bet now!”), or creative approaches, such as those that place emphasis on the immediacy of an event or on time running out, and time limited offers emphasising the need to participate before the odds change, are likely to be regarded by the ASA as a breach of these rules because they could pressure consumers into participating when they otherwise would not. Reminding consumers that other time-limited promotional offers are due to expire is likely to be acceptable.
Marketers should take care to avoid approaches that trivialize gambling and avoid the impression that the decision to gamble should be taken lightly. For example, they should:
It is likely to be acceptable for marketers to refer to or demonstrate the ease of use of a service or facility such as an app, but they should be careful not to do so in a way that might be problematic under the points above.
6.2 Financial concerns
Marketing communications that unduly play on people's fears of financial pressures are likely to breach these rules, even where risks have been set out.
Marketing communications should not present gambling as a viable alternative to employment. References to salary or debts in gambling marketing communications are likely to be regarded by the ASA as a breach of these rules. Alongside references to people’s financial or employment circumstances, marketers should exercise heightened caution when obviously depicting groups that are likely to experience financial pressures, for example, students.
Marketing communications that unduly emphasize financial motivations for gambling are likely to be regarded by the ASA as a breach of these rules.
Portrayals of the rewards of gambling should be reasonable and indicative of the rewards that can be obtained through responsible play. Marketers should also exercise caution when depicting winners avoiding the implication that a character has won easily, and approaches that take advantage of people’s hopes of winning or replicating the success depicted. Approaches that focus on gambling as a social activity or entertainment are less likely to breach the Code.
IMPACT ON OPERATORS
Operators who target UK Customers under a licence issued by the Gambling Commission must ensure that they comply with the new guidance by 1st November 2021 and should ensure that relevant policies and procedures are updated to reflect the new guidance and restrictions on marketing and advertising.
In addition, staff should be informed of the changes to the guidance and how this impacts on marketing communications made to customers. This includes ensuring that the tone and imagery of marketing and advertising communications adhere to the new requirements.
Ahead of the November deadline, operators should also review their planned marketing campaigns against the guidance to ensure the messaging is aligned with the revisions published by CAP & BCAP.
SUMMARY OF CHANGES TO GUIDANCE ON GAMBLING ADVERTISING
Operators should ensure that their staff are aware of the revisions to the guidance on gambling advertising which will come into effect form 1st November 2021.
These changes are a result of research published by GambleAware in March 2020 on the effect of gambling marketing and advertising on children, young people and vulnerable adults. In light of the research, and a subsequent consultation launched by CAP & BCAP in October 2020, CAP & BCAP have amended their guidance to reflect additional safeguards deemed required in marketing and advertising campaigns.
The Key amendments to the guidance are as follows:
You are expected to review and revise your policies and procedures in line with these changes and ensure that current and future advertising campaigns consider the change in approach brought about by the new CAP & BCAP guidance.