From the 1st of October 2022, any form of adverts that would be considered to be of “strong appeal” to persons under 18, which will include the use of top-flight footballers in gambling adverts, will be banned by UK’s Committee for Advertising Practice (CAP).
Initially, the rules only stipulated that gambling advertisements must not be of “particular appeal” to children or young persons. Now, the rules have been changed to also ban ads that have a “strong appeal” to children or young persons, especially by reflecting or being associated with youth culture. The new rules will be added to the CAP Code, and all marketing communications within the UK must abide by it.
Under the new CAP rules, operators may no longer use footballers or sportspeople with a considerable following among under-18 on social media, in their adverts. In addition, “references to video game content and gameplay popular with under-18s” will also be banned.
Celebrities from reality shows popular with under 18s like Love Island would also be banned from appearing in gambling adverts in the UK. The CAP rule however, does not prevent the advertising of gambling products associated with activities that are themselves of strong appeal to under-18s (for instance, certain sports or playing video games).
According to the CAP director, Shahriar Coupal, “The days of gambling ads featuring sports stars, video game imagery and other content of strong appeal to under-18s are numbered”. “By ending these practices, our new rules invite a new era for gambling ads, more particular to the adult audience they can target and more befitting of the age-restricted product they’re promoting.”
The new rules followed a consultation made, on how to ensure that minors are protected from the effects of gambling adverts, after calls were made for much stronger rules on gambling ads. There was also calls for outright ban on gambling ads, following a report by GambleAware on the subject.
CAP however, in the final version of the new rules, conceded that marketing of betting activities using text or audio references to a specific player alongside generic footballing imagery, rather than a real picture, will be allowed.