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Gambling advertising: regulation in Great Britain

Published Wednesday, July 4, 2018

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

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Since September 2007, when the Gambling Act 2005 came into force, betting and gaming companies have been able to advertise across all media in Great Britain.

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

The Commission’s Licence Conditions and Codes of Practice (LCCP) require gambling operators to comply with the Advertising Codes administered by the Advertising Standards Authority. 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)

Industry Code and initiatives

Gambling operators should also comply with an Industry Code for Socially Responsible Advertising. 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. These include the “When the Fun Stops, Stop” message.

Government reviews

The Department for Digital, Culture Media and Sport (DCMS) looked at gambling advertising in 2014, 2016 and 2017-18. In October 2017, DCMS published a range of proposals to strengthen protections around gambling. These included a package of measures relating to advertising. A responsible advertising campaign is expected to go live in 2018. GambleAware has commissioned new research on the effects of marketing and advertising on young people and vulnerable groups.






Commons Briefing papers CBP-7428

Author: John Woodhouse

Topic: Gambling

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