The decision by the Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP) to prohibit featuring of high profile sports figures in betting marketing campaigns has been welcomed by GambleAware’s Chief Communications Officer.
Writing for marketing news site Campaign, Alexia Clifford – who also serves as Director of Marketing for Public Health England – argued that advertising and marketing regulations have failed to keep up with rapid changes in the wider media landscape.
As a result of this, the GambleAware CCO stated that it was ‘absolutely right’ to put an end to high-profile sportspeople, notably footballers, from appearing in gambling advertisements – especially if the sportspeople in question were widely recognisable to under-18s.
Clifford explained: “Younger generations growing up today are having to navigate an entirely different world through online and social media and are often surrounded by new technologies and ways to interact and engage online.
“This is especially important when considering the rise of social media influencers and the growing level of influence celebrities can have on young people and youth culture.”
Making its decision last week, CAP ruled that the new requirements will be enforced from 1 October 2022 onwards, with the ban extending beyond sports stars to other public figures well-known to underage consumers.
These included social media influencers, YouTubers, video bloggers, streamers, Tiktokers, etc, as well as reality TV stars, with CAP basing its decision on GambleAware’s Final Synthesis Report: The impact of gambling marketing and advertising on children, young people and vulnerable adults.
As noted by Clifford, GambleAware’s investigations found that ‘nearly two thirds’ of 11-17 year olds had come across marketing betting material on social media, with ‘nearly half’ watching sports fixtures or teams sponsored by operators.
Additionally, 94% of young people in the same age bracket were exposed to gambling marketing activity in the month prior, seeing around six gambling ads each, according to the charity’s research.
“When it comes to children and young people, it’s crucial that we take a precautionary approach and protect them from exposure to gambling advertising and marketing,” the CCO continued.
She concluded: “I believe that reducing the amount of gambling advertising children and young people are exposed to is critical to delivering a society in which people are safe from gambling harms.”
With the White Paper on the 2005 Gambling Act review due for publication in the coming months, further restrictions on marketing and advertising could be expected – an end to sports betting sponsorships by Premier League football clubs is a repeatedly stated as a ‘highly likely’ outcome of the review, with the ban potentially extending to lower leagues and other sports.