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September 26, 2022

Advertising for Gambling in the UK: What You Can and Can’t Do!

If you’re an online bingo or an online casino, there are a few guidelines you’ll have to follow when advertising your brand anywhere on social media, google or wherever digitally and physically possible. This guideline is set out by the ASA.

Remember you need to be 18+ to gamble within the UK and please feel free to visit BeGambleAware.org for information on how to gamble safely.

Who is the ASA?

ASA stands for Advertising Standards Agency and is the entity that regulates all advertising in the UK. They work alongside the CAP (Committee of Advertising Practice), and they are responsible for creating the Advertising regulations.

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The CAP code states that ‘Gambling and lotteries advertising must comply with general responsibility provisions’. These regulations are in place so that they do not appeal to or exploit children, young people, and vulnerable people. It also cannot lead to socially irresponsible behaviour that could lead anyone to financial, social or emotional harm.

What You Can’t Do

Video Game References

You cannot include images or references of video games or esports that are popular with under 18’s. Any music from video games also cannot be used.

Youth Related Content

Any advertisement cannot include clothing styles that may seem youthful or behaviour that may seem typical of a teenager such as rebelliousness or disregard to authority. Advertisements also cannot include music from young artists or songs that are popular with younger crowds. Featuring images of persons who are under 25 would not be acceptable.

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Use of Persons or Characters

Advertisements of characters or personalities on TV shows or films for children and young people under 18, would be a no go. Furthermore, footballers in and out the UK, who have a high outreach of audiences, cannot be used for gambling advertisements as they can influence younger people. Other prominent sports figures in cricket, tennis or rugby are also included. (Oh, and so is eSports!)

A new addition to added to this is Reality Stars that appeal to not just adults but also a young audience e.g. Love Island.

Animation

Any promotional material that is animated cannot be too child-like, nor can it look to ‘cute’ or ‘cuddly’. Characters from children’s fairy tales e.g. Hansel and Gretel, cannot be used in animations. Nor cultural characters associated with young people such as Santa Claus or the Easter Bunny.

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What You Can Do

Now there isn’t really a can-do list for advertising, but there is the need to make sure all advertising is done responsibly. For example, if there is any animation advertisement, then the characters would have to be more life like or adult looking in appearance. Characteristics like a working man or woman could work, but any semblance to characteristics that resonate to children e.g. pirates, princesses and robots etc. should be avoided.

There is an exemption to the rules too. If any advertisement that does appeal to under 18s, but is shown on a platform that has most definitely removed under 18s from its audience via age verification, should be okay.

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What happens if you don’t follow regulations?

If you’re unable to follow the guidelines for online ads, then there are sanctions in place, as well as other repercussions:

  • The ASA can have Social Media content and Search Engine ads removed with any advertising material that breaks rules, and then place their own ad in replacement stating the brands name and non-compliance.
  • The ASA website will highlight a brands name and the ad until they comply, with search engines also showing the complaint on search engines.
  • Brands can get a bad reputation if it’s seen that they’ve been sanctioned by the ASA as they no longer look trustworthy.
  • If taken to Trading Standards, then companies can be fined or those involved can be imprisoned.
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So, there are lots of things to think about before you start advertising your land based or online casino anywhere online. Head on over to the ASA site to find out more about gambling advertisement do and don’ts.

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