The Gambling Act 2005 came fully into effect on 1 September 2007 and the Betting and Gaming section of the Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP) Code (Clauses 54.1 to 54.7) has been replaced by Clauses 57.1 to 57.4. In general, marketers should neither 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. From 1 September 2007, all gambling ads need to comply with the new rules 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 CAP Copy Advice team has, in the past, been approached to give advice on what is commonly known as ‘unique bid’ auctions in which significant ‘prizes’ are either given or sold to the participant who guesses the lowest (or highest) unique number. Sometimes the marketers will give an upfront indication of the ‘price’ similar prizes have gone for in the past; sometimes they go back to the bidder and say the bid is not unique and often very little, if any, information is given.
CAP has taken legal advice and believes that many of that type of promotion are likely to be illegal lotteries because the outcome depends more on chance than on skill. We understand that an appreciable element of chance in a game, however much skill there might be in it, constitutes a game of chance under the Gaming Act 1968 and under the new Gambling Act. CAP recognise that that has not been tested by the courts and urge marketers to obtain legal advice before running similar auctions.
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.