Social media giants are being urged to co-operate with the betting and gaming industry to limit marketing seen by young people and problem gamblers.
Standards body, The Betting and Gaming Council (BGC), want to implement new measures for online adverts but are being undermined by social media platforms.
BGC Chief Executive Michael Dugher has written to Culture Secretary Lucy Frazer MP, urging her to put pressure on social media platforms as part of the Government’s drive to tackle problem gambling among the young in particular. Launching the recent Gambling White Paper Mrs Frazer proposed measures that specifically looked at the under 25 age group.
In his letter, Mr Dugher explains that an earlier BGC drive saw social media platforms allow the public to opt-out from receiving betting and gaming advertising.
However, members say they need further cooperation to deliver other measures – in particular for those who have signed up to the industry self-exclusion tool GAMSTOP.
The industry wants a ‘marketing suppression scheme’ which it says would stop 300,000 people registered to GAMPSTOP from receiving direct marketing on social media.
In a letter to DCMS Secretary of State Mrs Frazer, Mr Dugher says: “This is impossible to achieve without the cooperation of the social media platforms themselves. This is a sensible solution, which BGC members are keen on implementing, but we cannot do so without the cooperation of social media platforms. … “I would urge you to help on this matter by calling on social media platforms to finally cooperate with the BGC and make the relevant functionality available, so we can help protect the most vulnerable.”
It would also like social media platforms to limit the frequency of ads to specific age groups, something members cannot do without cooperation.
BGC members have already taken major steps to ensure only those legally allowed to bet see online marketing for regulated betting and gaming products.
Currently all social media advertisements for BGC members must be targeted at those aged over 25, unless platforms can provide evidence to verify the accuracy of their targeting to over 18s.
A new BGC code of conduct was also introduced placing a ban on football clubs using their social media accounts – which are popular with youngsters – posting direct marketing on betting odds and sites.
The regulated betting and gaming industry in the UK supports 110,000 jobs, generates £4.2bn in tax and contributes £7.1bn to the economy.
Around 22.5m adults in the UK bet each month and we are encouraged by the latest figures from the Gambling Commission which show the rate of problem gambling among adults in the UK is 0.3 per cent.
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