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 Act introduced a new regime for gaming machines. Gaming machines are defined and categorised by reference to the levels of charge and prize, nature of the prize or the gambling and the premises where the machine is situated. Different age restrictions apply to the different categories of machine. Marketers should seek legal advice or guidance from the Gambling Commission on www.gamblingcommission.gov.uk.
Marketers of gaming machines should have regard to Rule 16.3 of the CAP Code, especially 16.3.13, which states that gambling ads should not be directed at those aged below 18 years (or 16 years for Category D gaming machines) through the selection of media or context in which they appear.
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
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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.