The new UK gambling advertising regulations and their impact on operators is not as severe as one might have expected.In addition to other gambling advertising regulation, operators have now been instructed that they may not advertise on torrent sites, or any other illegal sites.
Overview of Gambling Advertising Regulations in the UK
In order to advertise gambling, an operator needs to hold a license from the UK Gambling Commission, and must comply with the Advertising Codes that have been set out by the Advertising Standards Authority.
Gambling should not be portrayed to condone any behavior that could lead to social, financial or emotional harm. Gambling advertising should not exploit young or vulnerable people, and should not suggest in any way that it will be the solution to fix financial problems. Gambling should not be portrayed as appealing to young people, and no significant roles should be played by those under the age of 25.
As far as TV gambling adverts are concerned, they cannot be screened before 9pm. There are, however, exceptions to this rule for sports betting adverts which can be shown during coverage of sports events.
In June, the UK Committee of Advertising Practice introduced new guidelines for marketers. The main point of the new guidance is that reasonable steps need to be taken to exclude audiences who are underage. When advertising on digital media, marketers can track their target audience, and exclude those who exhibit behaviors associated with certain ages.
No More Gambling Adverts on Torrent Sites
Gambling operators also need to take steps to ensure that their adverts do not appear on illegal websites, in order not to provide revenue for those who commit online crimes. The UK Gambling Commission and PIPCU, the City of London Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit, have set up an Infringing Website List that is already being used by 40 gambling companies.
This means that gambling operators can no longer advertise on torrent sites since many files that are shared on these websites are illegally offered. The crackdown has more to do with the illegal sites, rather than the adverts from the gambling industry. Torrent sites are very difficult to regulate, which means that the UK Gambling Commission has no control over the information or advertising that is available on these sites.
The Chief Executive Officer of the UK Intellectual Property Office, Tim Moss, noted: "Partnership work is clearly having a major impact on IP crime across the UK. PIPCU and the Gambling Commission have cut off yet another illicit revenue stream for unscrupulous IP thieves. The government and its partners will continue to fight IP crime in all its forms. Those wishing to profit from the hard work of others will not have an easy ride."
Impact on Gambling Operators
In general, the UK gambling advertising bans are not likely to hit operators as hard as expected. Although daytime TV and torrent sites are both platforms that reach large number of people, there are many other options available today.
Advertising on mobile devices is likely to increase, and reaches large, more targeted audiences. The cost of mobile advertising is also substantially cheaper than TV advertising. TV broadcasters are far more likely to be the ones to lose out now that gambling adverts cannot be screened during daytime TV, and casinos will simply channel their advertising funds into different media.Read more about UK Gambling Law