Who: Industry Group for Responsible Gambling
When: 20 August 2015
Law stated as at: 9 September 2015
The UK’s Industry Group for Responsible Gambling (“IGRG”) published the 2nd edition of the Gambling Industry Code for Socially Responsible Advertising (the “Code”), introducing a range of new requirements for UK gambling ads.
The Code was first launched in 2007 and put in place a 9pm watershed for all TV ads for gambling products (other than bingo and sports betting around televised sporting events), together with a requirement to promote the Gamble Aware website and a ban on operators’ logos appearing on children’s replica football kit and other merchandise as a part of sponsorship deals.
The new edition of the Code goes further and requires:
- Socially responsible gambling messages at the end of all TV and radio ads.
- No sign-up offers targeted at new customers before the 9pm watershed.
- No references in pre-9pm advertising to gambling products that couldn’t normally be advertised for pre-watershed exemption.
- Improved prominence for gambleaware.co.uk in print and broadcast ads, as well as in TV sponsorships.
- Clear “18+” messaging in all print and TV ads.
It also includes new social media provisions. These require operators to include responsible gambling messaging on their corporate webpages together with links to further information. Operators also need to ensure their pages/accounts on social media carry clear “18+” messaging and a reference to www.gambleaware.co.uk.
Why this matters:
The IGRG’s Code supplements rules in the CAP and BCAP Codes as well as the Gambling Commission’s Licence Conditions and Codes of Practice (“LCCP”). It is an industry code, and hence on the face of it a form of self-regulation. However note that Ordinary Code Provision 5.1.6 of the LCCP requires that:
“Licensees should also follow any relevant industry code of practice on advertising, notably the Gambling Industry Code for Socially Responsible Advertising.”
An operator who fails to comply with the Code may therefore suffer regulatory consequences.
The updated rules are unlikely to reduce the amount of Ray Winstone we see on TV (promoting Bet365), but should increase the overall visibility of responsible gambling and 18+ messages.
The 2nd edition of the Code can be found here.