On 11 November 2021, the Committee of Advertising Practice, and the Broadcast Committee of Advertising Practice, published revised guidance on responsible and problem gambling.
The CAP offers guidance on the interpretation of the UK Code of Non-broadcast Advertising and Direct & Promotional Marketing (the "CAP Code"), in relation to non-broadcast marketing communications. The BCAP offers guidance on the interpretation of the UK Code of Broadcast Advertising (the "BCAP Code"), in relation to broadcast advertisements.
The new guidance complements existing protections in the CAP and BCAP Codes to ensure that gambling advertising is not socially irresponsible and does not lead to financial, social or emotional harm. The guidance does not create new rules, but aids the interpretation of section 16 of the CAP Code and section 17 of the BCAP Code. The guidance also reminds marketers to apply the rules in spirit, as well as letter.
The guidance advises marketers to:
- Avoid approaches that give false perceptions of the level of risk involved or the extent of a gambler's control over a bet or gambling in general.
- Avoid presenting gambling as a way of participating in a community based on skill.
- Avoid stating or implying that offers (such as money back, free bets, enhanced odds and similar) can reduce risk.
The revised guidance comes at a time when gambling in the UK is under an increasing spotlight. Reform of the 2005 Gambling Act is on the horizon, amidst vocal lobbying for significant reductions in gambling stakes, caps on losses, and the potential introduction of wide-scale industry sharing of gamblers' data (see here).
Whilst the gambling landscape in the UK is potentially about to undergo a significant shift, operators should continue to ensure any advertisements confirm to the CAP and BCAP Codes, as regulatory scrutiny and heightened awareness abound.