UK policy stakeholders welcome the IGRG’s ‘stronger code’ for 2019

UK regulatory and policy stakeholders have publicly backed yesterday’s confirmation by the Industry Group for Responsible Gambling (‘IGRG’) to implement a whistle-to-whistle ban on betting advertising during live TV sports programming.

In 2019, the IGRG – a collective body of industry operators and trade associations – will re-establish a new code for betting advertising practices, helping the UK Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) to monitor gambling marketing, advertising and communications.

Tom Watson, Deputy Leader of the Labour Party and a long-term critic of UK gambling advertising, backed the IGRG’s industry-wide initiative as a positive step for the betting industry.

“This is an important first step in recognising that the proliferation of gambling adverts has got completely out of hand,” said Watson. “It was imperative for the industry to accept there is a problem and they have done that today. The next step will have to be addressing the gambling adverts that children and vulnerable problem gamblers see online.”

Implementing new provisions in 2019, the IGRG’s strengthened industry responsibility code will focus on the following key provisions

  • Preventing any online casino advertising before the 9.00pm watershed;
  • Stopping gambling sponsorships appearing on any children’s merchandise, including notably on replica football shirts;
  • Requiring all gambling adverts on television to carry a responsible gambling message and/or a reference to begambleaware.org throughout the length of those adverts.
  • Enforcing responsible gambling messaging across social media and digital advertising channels.
  • Adhering to new ‘whistle-to-whistle’ ban on betting advertising during live pre-watershed sports programming (in-bound 2019).

Anna Hemmings, CEO at GamCare, commented: “For many people gambling is not a harmful activity, but for some it can become a serious problem. Many of our service users have told us that the volume of gambling advertisements on television and elsewhere is not helpful to them in maintaining their recovery, so the news that gambling advertising during live sporting events will be reduced is welcome.

“We would also welcome more research and discussion around the potential impacts gambling advertising can have on vulnerable people so that safeguards can continue to develop and protect people from future harms.”

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