Who: The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) and Committee for Advertising Practice (CAP)
Where: United Kingdom
When: New rules to take effect from 1 October 2022
Law stated as at: 6 June 2022
Following a consultation period, the ASA has announced tougher rules for gambling adverts, which will take effect from 1 October 2022. The new rules prohibit adverts for gambling and lotteries which are “likely to be of strong appeal to children or young persons, especially by reflecting or being associated with youth culture.” By contrast, the current rules only prohibit gambling adverts which have a “particular appeal” to under 18s.
Specifically, the guidance states that the “strong appeal” test prohibits any content (that is, imagery, themes and characters) that has a strong level of appeal to under-18s regardless of how it is viewed by adults. In practice, this means that gambling and lottery adverts will not be able to feature:
- Topflight footballers and footballers with a considerable following among under-18s on social media.
- All sportspeople that are well known to under-18s, including sportspeople with a considerable volume of under-18 followers on social media.
- References to video game content and gameplay popular with under-18s.
- Stars from reality shows popular with under-18s, such as Love Island.
However, where the activity underlying the relevant gambling or lottery product being advertised has a strong appeal to under-18s (for example, football or video gaming), the gambling and lottery product may still be advertised provided that the advertiser takes “appropriate steps” to limit the advert’s potential “strong appeal” to under-18s. This means that references to the underlying activity must be limited to:
- Text or audio references.
- Generic depictions of the sport or game.
- Competition or advertiser brand logos or identifiers.
- Lottery prizes and good causes.
Why this matters:
The new rules come into force from October 2022, in the immediate lead up to the FIFA World Cup in Qatar the following month, a sporting event around which gambling and betting companies traditionally spend heavily on marketing to attract gamblers. Marketers will need to ensure that any content in their respective advert(s) passes the new “strong appeal” test. In particular, the ASA has stated that marketers will need to satisfy themselves to a high degree of confidence that their ad is unlikely to have a “strong appeal” to under-18s before the advert is published. In practice, this means that, in the event of any subsequent investigation, the ASA will expect to see a detailed assessment as to why the marketer considered that the advert would not have a “strong appeal” to under-18s.