UK industry standards body the Betting and Gaming Council has drawn up tough new rules aimed at preventing football clubs from using their official social media accounts to promote gambling offers. This follows concerns that the controversial tactic could be used to get round strict measures preventing under-18s from seeing betting adverts online.
Questions have been raised over gambling adverts posted by clubs on their official Twitter accounts.
Under the new BGC code of conduct, calls to action or links to gambling websites would not be allowed on organic tweets on the social media feeds of football clubs. The code of conduct also bans any display of direct bonuses or odds on organic tweets which cannot be solely targeted at over-18s.
The BGC has written to the Premier League and the English Football League highlighting the new guidelines so they can make clubs aware and encourage them to apply the rules for non-BGC members.
Separately, a letter has also been sent to Twitter and Facebook calling on them to introduce age-gating for all social media accounts to ensure that organic posts which include gambling adverts can only be seen by over-18s.
Last August, the BGC published the Sixth Industry Code for Socially Responsible Advertising, which stipulates that members must ensure all sponsored or paid for social media adverts are targeted at those aged 25 and over unless the website can prove its adverts can be precisely targeted at over 18s.
It also includes a requirement that gambling ads appearing on search engines must make clear that they are for those aged 18-plus, while the adverts themselves must include safer gambling messages.
Brigid Simmonds OBE, Chairman of the BGC, said: “Football clubs are an important part of the sporting fabric of this country, followed by millions of all ages on social media.
“Our members rightly have a zero tolerance approach to gambling by under-18s, so as an industry we are understandably concerned that children may be exposed to betting adverts on social media platforms.
“Our new guidelines make clear the standards expected of football clubs when they post gambling promotions on social media, and I look forward to them being put into practice as soon as possible.”