The Gambling Act 2005 came fully into effect on 1 September 2007. Under section 16 of the Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP) Code, marketers should not exploit the young or vulnerable nor imply gambling can solve financial or personal problems or is indispensable, a rite of passage or linked with sexual success. All gambling ads must comply with the Code and the law. The Gambling Act does not apply outside Great Britain. Specialist legal advice should be sought when considering advertising any gambling products in Northern Ireland or the Channel Islands.
The Gambling (Licensing and advertising) Act 2014 will take effect on the 1st November 2014. It contains provisions relating to the licensing of gambling operators advertising or offering remote gambling facilities to consumers in the UK. CAP urge you to seek legal advice regarding the requirements of the act if you are unsure.
The gambling clauses set out that ads for gambling products should not portray gambling as indispensable or as taking priority in life, for example over family, friends or professional or educational commitments and should not condone or feature gambling in a working environment.
A national press ad, for Wink Bingo, showed a nurse celebrating next to a trolley, which held various surgical instruments, and a laptop computer with a screen that read “WINK BINGO WINNER”. Behind the nurse, a man with a shocked expression and holding a teddy bear was shown standing over a woman lying on a bed. Above them a sign stated “Maternity Unit”. Text at the top of the ad stated “Find the appropriate moment …”. The Advertising Standards Authority acknowledged that the intention of the ad was to portray a real-life situation in a humorous way but considered that the ad nonetheless showed a health-care professional ignoring a woman giving birth to play bingo online. It also considered that the text “Find the appropriate moment”, together with the image, was likely to be understood to condone, not warn against, gambling in the work place (Daub Ltd t/a Winkbingo, 20 August 2008).
Note: This advice is given by the CAP Executive about non-broadcast advertising. It does not constitute legal advice. It does not bind CAP, CAP advisory panels or the ASA. CAP’s Advice Online entries provide guidance on interpreting the UK Code of Non-broadcast Advertising and Direct & Promotional Marketing.
Related: Betting and gaming: General
How can we help!
We are aware that sometimes whether something is of particular appeal to under-18s can be nuanced – therefore, marketers are welcome to get a view from our Copy Advice team which provides pre-publication advice on advertising at any stage.