CAP bans use of sports stars and celebrities to promote gambling campaigns

UK licensed gambling operators will no longer be allowed to use high profile sports stars to promote their marketing campaigns.

The measure was announced by CAP – The Committee of Advertising Practice, who this morning published a series “of tough new rules to curb the appeal of gambling adverts with under-18 audiences”.

The new rules that will be applied from 1 October, will significantly impact how licensed operators devise marketing campaigns and who they are allowed to work with.

CAP which serves as the monitor of UK advertising across traditional and digital formats stated that a ‘step change’ needed to be applied to UK gambling advertising to ensure that adverts do not carry a “strong appeal to children or young persons, especially by reflecting or being associated with youth culture.”

Operators will no longer be allowed to promote their products/services using “top-flight footballers and footballers with a considerable following among under-18 audiences on social media”.

The rule has been further applied to sports personalities well-known to under-18s, including those who have a considerable appeal/connection with under-18 followers on social media be it influencers, YouTubers, video bloggers, streamers, Tiktokers, etc.

Technical restrictions will see marketing teams banned from using imagery and references of video game content and gameplay popular with youth culture.

Further restrictions will see operators no longer able to work with “celebrities popular with under-18s such as reality TV stars to promote their marketing campaigns.”

CAP devised its new advertising rules following its response to  GambleAware’s Final Synthesis Report: The impact of gambling marketing and advertising on children, young people and vulnerable adults.  

Report findings indicated that further advertising controls and marketing safeguards were required to protect under-18s from gambling-related harms.

Shahriar Coupal – CAP

Shahriar Coupal, Director of CAP, said “The days of gambling ads featuring sports stars, video game imagery and other content of strong appeal to under-18s are numbered.

“By ending these practices, our new rules invite a new era for gambling ads, more particular to the adult audience they can target and more befitting of the age-restricted product they’re promoting.”

Questioned on how it intends to define a threshold for gambling adverts deemed to be targeting under-18s, CAP responded to SBC – “Extensive guidance accompanies the new rules to support marketers in their application of those rules.”

“We expect advertisers to take a cautious approach when advertising gambling products. References to imagery or culture that specifically appeals to under-18s would be a problem under our new rules and could lead to ads being banned. “

“Likewise, using popular figures such as topflight footballers or reality stars would also be likely to be an issue. Advertisers can always get in touch with our Copy Advice team about their campaigns, for free advice about whether an ad might break our rules”

CAP further notified SBC that inbound changes will be applied across all marketing verticals including affiliate and digital media publishers “who must conform with new advertising rules”.

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