UK Gambling Regulators Crack Down on Child-Friendly Casino Adverts

ian bruce
Written by Ian Bruce
Published on Monday 23rd October 2017, 11:08 am
Posted in: Casino Legal

Casino Legal

Gambling regulators in the UK are cracking down on casino advertisements which they say are likely to appeal to children. It is of course illegal for anyone under the age of 18 to gamble in the UK (under 16 for National Lottery and society lottery participation), but some casinos are said to be advertising both free-to-play and pay-to-play games which have childish elements that could be construed as targeting younger audiences.

Gambling Commission Crackdown

We recently highlighted how the Gambling Commission ensures casino safety in the UK, and this crackdown is just the latest of many actions which the regulator has taken to protect not only players but potential players. Working in partnership with the Advertising Standards Authority, the Committee of Advertising Practice and the Remote Gambling Association, the Gambling Commission has sent a letter to online operators requesting immediate removal of advertisements that are likely to appeal to individuals aged 17 or younger, or which are viewable by such persons.

‘Recent articles in the UK national press have highlighted a number of freely accessible ads on gambling operator websites, which feature images that are likely to appeal particularly to under 18s,’ the letter said. ‘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.’

Gambling Advert Rules

The letter went on to restate the Committee of Advertising Practice rules and guidance, and then explained exactly what it means when referring to adverts which have particular appeal to children or young persons. 

‘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.’

The request for the removal of such advertisements has been welcomed by many operators, and it is expected that the majority will comply without hesitation. Any that don’t will undoubtedly be hearing from the regulators again. As the letter concluded: ‘If gambling operators cannot or will not bring their advertising into line with the Code, the CAP Compliance team has various sanctions available to it and will consider applying these if we continue to see gambling ads that have particular appeal to under 18s.’

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