CAP and BCAP announce progress with gambling ad consultation

Published on 25 November 2021

What updates have arisen as a result of CAP and BCAP’s consultation responding to the findings of the GambleAware Final Synthesis Report?

The key takeaway
CAP and BCAP are working hard to ensure that the most vulnerable members of society are protected from the potential dangers of gambling.

The background
On 6 August 2021, CAP and BCAP published an interim statement that details the progress that has been made on their joint consultation (launched 22 October 2020) that responded to the findings of the GambleAware Final Synthesis Report. The consultation outlined proposals to strengthen rules and guidance around gambling adverts in an effort to further protect vulnerable consumers (under 18’s and vulnerable adults). The consultation proposed the following changes/updates:

  • the introduction of new rules that would aim to stop the ads being of strong appeal to under 18’s. This means that gambling ads cannot feature a person or character likely have a strong appeal to under 18’s (this would include sports people, influencers and celebrities). “Strong appeal” would be defined in the same way as it is for the CAP and BCAP rules on advertising alcohol
  • updating current guidance in order to prohibit presenting gambling as a way to be part of a community, that it is skill based or implying that certain offers can create security for the consumer
  • proposals for potential new restrictions on placement and targeting of gambling ads, and
  • technical updates to the advertising codes which would change the introductory/clarifying parts of the sections of the code relating to gambling to ensure that they are up to date with the underlying legal framework.

The development
The interim statement highlights that there was a significant amount of responses to the consultation, particularly in relation to the introduction of a “strong appeal” rule. Specifically, the responses c

advertising to under 18’s would actually work in practice. CAP and BCAP are still in the process of considering these responses and have committed to responding fully by the end of 2021.

However, in the interim statement, CAP and BCAP indicated that they are going to move forward with the implementation of revisions to guidance as well as the proposed technical update to the codes based on the responses and outcomes of the consultation. These are:

  • CAP’s guidance on gambling advertising: responsibility and problem gambling, has been updated in line with the consultation’s proposals. The new guidance will be effective from 1 November 2021
  • the amendments are designed to protect vulnerable adults, by prohibiting the use of humour or light-heartedness to downplay the risks of gambling or presenting free bets as adding an element of security or reducing risk. Furthermore, the guidance prohibits unrealistic portrayals of winners and the presentation of gambling as a way to be part of a community based or presenting gambling as skill based, and
  • the introductory sections to both the BCAP and CAP Codes will be updated in line with the consultation’s proposals, to ensure they are more easily understood and reflect the underlying legal framework for gambling. As the changes do not change advertising policy, they will be effective immediately.

Why is this important?
These development’s highlights CAP’s ongoing commitment to social responsibility within the gambling arena.

Any practical tips?
The updates mean that advertisers will need to adjust their methodology when it comes to gambling ads so that they are not caught out by any changes to the advertising codes. Big gaming brands in particular will need to keep a close eye on future developments, such as the potential for restrictions on ads with “strong appeal” to under 18’s. The latter could have significant and far reaching consequences for gaming operators and their sponsors.

Explore all the key legal developments for the modern commercial lawyer across data, digital, consumer and advertising in the full edition of Snapshots for Autumn 2021.

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