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Gambling advertising: regulation in Great Britain

Published Friday, July 28, 2017

This Commons Library briefing paper looks at gambling advertising in Great Britain.

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Gambling operators selling into the British market must have a Gambling Commission licence to transact with, and advertise to, British consumers.

The Gambling Commission’s licence conditions and codes of practice (LCCP)  require gambling operators to comply with the Advertising Codes, administered by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA). The Codes are designed to ensure that gambling adverts do not:

  • portray, condone or encourage gambling behaviour that is socially irresponsible or could lead to financial, social or emotional harm
  • exploit the susceptibilities, aspirations, credulity, inexperience or lack of knowledge of children, young persons or other vulnerable persons
  • suggest that gambling can be a solution to financial concerns
  • link gambling to seduction, sexual success or enhanced attractiveness
  • be of particular appeal to children or young persons, especially by reflecting or being associated with youth culture
  • feature anyone gambling or playing a significant role in an advert if they are under 25 years old (or appear to be under 25)

Gambling operators should also comply with an Industry Code for Socially Responsible Gambling. This features as good practice in the Gambling Commission's LCCP.

In response to public concern about problem gambling, the gambling industry has taken a number of voluntary measures to make advertising more socially responsible.

In October 2016, the DCMS published a review of gaming machines and social responsibility measures. This sought views on gambling advertising and whether the existing rules were appropriate to protect children and vulnerable people from the possible harmful impact of gambling advertising. A call for evidence closed on 4 December 2016. The Government hoped to publish its findings and proposals in spring 2017. These are not now expected “until October at the earliest”.



Commons Briefing papers CBP-7428

Author: John Woodhouse

Topic: Gambling

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