New standards protect children from 'irresponsible' gambling ads

Keiligh Baker's picture
by Keiligh Baker

The CAP has published new standards to protect children and young people from irresponsible gambling ads.

This follows a review of the evidence on advertising’s impact on under-18s and rulings by the Advertising Standards Authority.

The evidence suggests that exposure to gambling ads that comply with the UK’s Advertising Codes is, of itself, unlikely to harm under-18s. But targeted restrictions are still required, however, to address the potential risks associated with irresponsible advertising. 

While the advertising rules don’t need to change, the CAP have introduced new standards to strengthen how they apply in practice.

The new standards:

  1. prohibit online ads for gambling products being targeted at groups of individuals who are likely to be under 18 based on data about their online interests and browsing behaviour;
  2. extensively list unacceptable types of content, including certain types of animated characters, licensed characters from movies or TV and sportspeople and celebrities that are likely to be of particular appeal to children, and references to youth culture; and
  3. prohibit the use in gambling ads of sportspersons, celebrities or other characters who are or appear to be under 25; and
  4. adds to existing guidance on the responsible targeting of ads, covering all media (including social networks and other online platforms)

The new standards will come into force on 1 April 2019.
Director of the Committees of Advertising Practice, Shahriar Coupal, said: “Playing at the margins of regulatory compliance is a gamble at the best of times, but for gambling advertisers it’s particularly ill-advised, especially when the welfare of children is at stake.

"Our new standards respond to the latest evidence and lessons from ASA rulings, and require that greater care is taken in the placement and content of gambling ads to ensure they are not inadvertently targeted at under 18s."