Michael Dugher: BGC accepts new CAP rules but government must deliver a definitive advertising solution  

The Betting and Gaming Council (BGC) has stated that its members will support the introduction of tough new advertising laws banning the use of sports stars and celebrities announced by this week by The Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP). 

On Tuesday, CAP the monitor of UK advertising across traditional and digital formats, announced a ‘step change’ of rules from 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.”

From 1 October, UK operators will no longer be allowed to use high-profile sports athletes, celebrities, and social media influencers to promote their advertising campaigns.

CAP stated that its new rules had been adopted in response to GambleAware’sFinal Synthesis Report that outlined the need for further advertising controls to protect under-18s from gambling-related harms.

Responding to CAP’s new enforcement, BGC Chief Executive Michael Dugher said: “The BGC supports these changes not least because they build on a whole range of measures we have led in recent times to drive up standards and ensure further protections in advertising.”

The BGC underlined that since the trade body’s foundation in 2019, its members had tackled advertising concerns head-on by adhering to a new Code of Conduct on Safer Gambling Advertising.

“In 2019, BGC members introduced the whistle-to-whistle ban on TV betting commercials during live sport before the 9pm watershed, which led to the number of such ads being seen by young people at that time falling by 97%.”

“Our members also introduced new age gating rules on advertising on social platforms, restricting the ads to those aged 25 and over for most sites.”

Withstanding CAP’s inbound rules, the future outcome of UK gambling advertising, marketing and sponsorship disciplines will be decided by the government’s review of the 2005 Gambling Act.

As stakeholders await the publication of White Paper recommendations that are set to be published following Easter, Dugher commented : “It is worth remembering that according to the Gambling Commission, the proportion of young people who gambled in a previous seven day period fell from 23% in 2011 to 11 per cent in 2019.”

“The most popular forms of betting by young people are playing cards, scratchcards, bets between friends and fruit machines – not with BGC members.”

“The regulated betting and gaming industry is determined to promote safer gambling and greater customer protection – unlike the unsafe and growing online black market, which has none of the safeguards that apply and will apply to BGC members.”

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