Important correspondence from the Gambling Commission, the Committee of Advertising Practice, the Advertising Standards Authority and the Remote Gambling Association regarding adverts on operators’ websites, or in third party media, which are likely to appeal particularly to under 18s.
Operators are required to take immediate action to ensure that such adverts are amended or removed in accordance with The UK Code of Non-broadcast Advertising and Direct & Promotional Marketing (the CAP Code).
Action required: removal of ads that appeal particularly to under 18s
We are writing to advise you to amend or remove immediately any ads on your website or in third party media that are:
- likely to appeal particularly to people aged 17 or younger (‘under 18’); and,
- generally available to view (‘freely accessible’).
This relates particularly to freely accessible ads for play-for-free and play-for-money games and includes all graphics and images displayed on a website or in third party media.
The Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP): the author of The UK Code of Non-broadcast Advertising and Direct & Promotional Marketing (the CAP Code). We work with the UK advertising industry to achieve the highest degree of compliance with the Code.
The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA): the independent body that assesses whether ads comply with the CAP Code, banning ads that don’t.
The Gambling Commission: an independent non-departmental public body sponsored by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport. It was set up under the Gambling Act 2005 to regulate commercial gambling in Great Britain in partnership with licensing authorities.
The Remote Gambling Association (RGA): a trade association representing online gambling companies, part of whose role is to encourage social responsibility within the betting and gaming industry for the benefit of its members and the public generally.
Recent articles in the UK national press1 have highlighted a number of freely accessible ads on gambling operator websites, which feature images that are likely to appeal particularly to under 18s. This is unacceptable.
Gambling operators are required by the UK Advertising Codes and the conditions of their Gambling Commission licence to advertise responsibly with particular regard to the protection of under 18s and others who are vulnerable to being harmed or exploited by gambling advertising.
The rules and guidance
The CAP Code states:
16.1 Marketing communications for gambling must be socially responsible, with particular regard to the need to protect children, young persons and other vulnerable persons from being harmed or exploited.
16.3 Marketing communications must not:
16.3.12 be likely to be of particular appeal to children or young persons, especially by reflecting or being associated with youth culture.
17.13 Marketing communications for lotteries must not be likely to be of particular appeal to children or young persons, especially by reflecting or being associated with youth culture.
It should be noted that, while the minimum age limit for purchasing National Lottery products and participating in society lotteries is 16, the rules in section 17 (Lotteries)
of the CAP Code are designed to ensure that marketing communications for lotteries are socially responsible, with particular regard to the need to protect those aged under 18.
An ad is considered to have “particular appeal to children or young persons” if it is deemed likely to appeal more to under 18s than to over 18s. The use of particular colours, cartoon and comic book images, animals, child- and youth-orientated references and names of games such as “Piggy Payout”, “Fluffy Favourites”, “Pirate Princess” and “Jack and the Beanstalk” are likely, alone or in combination, to enhance appeal to under 18s.