UK standards body Betting And Gaming Council unveils tough new measures for gambling ads

Tough new measures aimed at further preventing under-18s from seeing gambling adverts online have been unveiled by the UK’s Betting and Gaming Council.

The standards body, which represents the regulated betting industry excluding the National Lottery, unveiled the crackdown as it published the Sixth Industry Code for Socially Responsible Advertising.

In future, BGC members must ensure that all sponsored or paid for social media adverts must be targeted at consumers aged 25 and over unless the website can prove its adverts can be precisely targeted at over 18s.

The new code also includes a requirement that gambling ads appearing on search engines must make clear that they are for those aged 18 and over. In addition, the adverts themselves must also include safer gambling messages.

YouTube users will also have to use age-verified accounts before they can view gambling ads, guaranteeing that they cannot be seen by under-18s.

And BGC members will have to post frequent responsible gambling messages on their Twitter accounts.

The new code, which will come into force on 1st October, is the latest example of the BGC’s determination to drive up standards within the betting and gaming industry.

Other measures include the whistle to whistle ban on TV gambling adverts, a requirement for 20 per cent of all TV and radio ads to be safer gambling messaging, cooling off periods on gaming machines, encouraging deposit limits, new ID and age verification checks and massively increasing funding for research, education and treatment.

Michael Dugher, chief executive of the BGC, said: “As the new standards body for the regulated sector, we are committed to driving up standards within the betting and gaming industry. 

“We have made excellent progress in recent times and the Industry Code for Socially Responsible Advertising is updated as technology evolves. The latest edition is further evidence of our determination to continue to ensure that standards are rising and are as high as they can possibly be.

“BGC members have a zero tolerance attitude to under-18s betting, and from requirements for safer gambling messages to restrictions on YouTube advertising, this new code shows how seriously the BGC, who represent regulated betting but not the National Lottery, take our responsibilities.

“At the same time, we urge the Government to work with us to crack down on black market operators who have no interest in safer gambling or protecting their customers and do not work to the same responsible standards as BGC members.

“It is vital that the big internet platforms honour their responsibilities to protect people online and we hope the Government will use its forthcoming Online Harms Bill to that effect. The Review of the Gambling Act will also provide further opportunities to improve standards and we look forward to working with the Government on this.”