The Betting and Gaming Council, a standards body, which represents the United Kingdom’s regulated betting industry excluding the National Lottery, has unveiled its latest crackdown as it published the Sixth Industry Code for Socially Responsible Advertising. The new code will be implemented by October 1, 2020, showing the regulator’s determination to increase standards in the betting and gaming industry within the country.
This crackdown introduces new tough measures that are aimed at preventing minors from seeing online gambling advertisements. Upon its effectivity, BGC members must ensure that all sponsored and paid social media advertisements must be targeted at consumers aged 25 and over unless these are proven to be focused at consumers aged 18 and over. Members must also post responsible gambling messages frequently on social media accounts such as Twitter. Aside from social media, ads on search engines must make it clear that ads are for consumers 18 and over while also including safer gambling messages. Consumers using content streaming platforms such as Youtube will also have to use age-verified accounts before they can view gambling ads to ensure that these are not seen by under-18s.
Aside from online content, the regulator has also added measures in broadcast media such as a whistle to whistle ban on TV gambling advertisements and a requirement for 20% of all TV and radio ads to be messages about safer gambling. The regulator has also pushed for other measures such as cool-off periods on gaming machines, encouraged deposit limits, new ID, and age verification checks. The regulator has also managed to massively increase funding for research education and treatment for problem gamblers.
The BGC’s chief executive, Michael Dugher, has commented on this crackdown saying that the BGC is committed to driving up standards in the betting and gaming industry. He also said that they have made excellent progress in recent times and the Industry Code for Socially Responsible Advertising is updated as technology evolves and that this latest edition is further evidence of their determination to continue to ensure that standards are rising and are as high as they can be.
He also emphasized that the BGC and its members have a zero-tolerance attitude to under-18s betting. Dugher also pointed out that this new code has many requirements in place that will ensure safer gambling. From safer gambling messages to restrictions on YouTube advertising, this new code shows how seriously the BGC takes its responsibilities. Aside from this he also urged the Government to work with the BGC to crack down on black market operators as these have no desire to protect their customers and do not operate at the same standards as BGC members. Finally, he further emphasized that it is vital for big internet platforms to honour their responsibilities to protect people online and he also hopes that the Government will use its forthcoming Online Harms Bill to that effect. He also mentioned that the review of the Gambling Act will also provide further opportunities to improve standards and that the BGC looks forward to working with the Government on this.