UK operators told to remove ‘child themed’ advertising inventory

UK regulatory and licensing stakeholders have sent a joint-letter to online gambling operators demanding that adverts ‘appealing to minors’ be ‘immediately removed’ from websites and active marketing inventory (media, affiliates and third parties).

The joint-letter was published by the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC), and supported by UK advertising bodies the Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP) and The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA).

The demand relating to minors protections against gambling exposure has been further supported by industry trade group The Remote Gambling Association (RGA).

On Sunday 8 October, The Sunday Times published an investigative report titled ‘Peter Pan hooks children on web gambling, in which the newspaper claimed that ‘lax industry regulation’ had allowed betting operators to use cartoon characters to promote a number of casino games.

The newspaper detailed that the ‘freely accessible’ images breached UK advertising codes set by CAP with regards to child (under-18) protections relating to gambling services.

“Recent articles in the UK national press have highlighted a number of freely accessible ads on gambling operator websites, which feature images that are likely to appeal particularly to under 18s. This is unacceptable.”

“Gambling operators are required by the UK Advertising Codes and the conditions of their Gambling Commission licence to advertise responsibly with particular regard to the protection of under 18s and others who are vulnerable to being harmed or exploited by gambling advertising.”

UK media reports that the letter has been sent to 450 online gambling firms, further warning that those who failed to adhere to current ASA standards would likely face sanctions.

The subject matter of child protections was reviewed by industry legal expert David Clifton (Clifton Davies) for SBC this month, detailing that sector stakeholders be ‘mindful of protecting children’.

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