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. The Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP) urge you to seek legal advice regarding the requirements of the act if you are unsure.
The gambling rules set out that ads for gambling products should neither exploit the susceptibilities, inexperience or lack of knowledge of young or vulnerable people nor imply that gambling can provide an escape from personal and professional problems.
In 2008, the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) considered an ad that stated “BET TO FORGET” and featured a photograph of the footballer Eric Cantona, who seemed to be dressed as a knight. The advertiser said the ad was meant to be interpreted as a light-hearted reference to England not qualifying for the Euro 2008 Championship. The advertiser also said Eric Cantona was dressed as King Arthur as the website linked through to various King Eric films, including one where he pronounces “… Europe kicked you out of the Euro, who cares? BET to be king … BET to forget …”. The ASA believed the link between “BET TO FORGET” and England’s failure to qualify was unclear and considered that the claim was likely to be interpreted, especially by vulnerable people, as suggesting that gambling could provide an escape from personal problems (Partouche Betting Ltd, 8 October 2008).
Ads for gambling products must not suggest that gambling can be a solution to financial concerns, an alternative to employment or a way to achieve financial security.
In February 2009, the ASA considered complaints about an ad, for a football-betting service, that stated “Beating the city boys at their own game” and showed a group of men holding a football, laughing and clenching their fists in celebration. Text stated “Returned 13.56% last season … with inflation eating away at savings. Property marketing in crisis. Stock market suffering … Why not try an alternative method. Log onto www.requestabet.com”. The ASA considered the ad presented gambling as an alternative form of investment and was misleading and irresponsible (Sohi Capital Partners ltd, 25 February 2009).
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.