Ban on sports personalities in gambling ads

Simona Boshkova | Published 22 Oct 2020, 11:40 a.m.

There have been many initiatives in the past few months when it comes to gambling-related advertisements in the UK. Back in June, the Gambling-Related Harm All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) has called for a ban on all gambling advertisements in the UK and received a lot of criticism. Later, the Betting and Gaming Council (BGC) announced a new online advertising code to reduce the number of gambling ads in the UK. And to ensure that customers protection is on the highest level, the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) has partnered with Facebook to create a guidance for limiting gambling-related ads that users can see on the social media platform.

A couple of months ago, the House of Lords called for drastic changes in gambling regulations, among which was the ban of gambling sponsorships in sports. However, the English Premier League was against this proposal as the gambling sponsorships are a significant source of revenue. Now, the Committees of Advertising Practice (CAP) aims to ban the use of sports personalities in gambling ads in the UK.

CAP is considering new gambling advertising rules

The current advertisements that feature sports stars like Tottenham coach Jose Mourinho, Harry Redknapp and former England striker Michael Owed could be banned under the new gambling advertising rules. Namely, recent GambleAware research found that the current gambling ads with sports personalities have the potential to attract a younger audience under 18 to gambling because of the sports stars.

For that reason, the Committees of Advertising Practice (CAP), the regulator for setting the advertising code in the UK, is considering new gambling advertising rules. Under the current rules, an ad is banned only if the CAP thinks that it was appealing more to under 18-year olds. On the other hand, if the new rules are enforced, an ad will be banned if it appeals to children, regardless of how it may be viewed by adults.

CAP has launched a public consultation on the new rules and said that these rules would have a significant effect on ads that use sports stars and celebrities, including reality TV stars. If the new rules were to be enforced, that would happen early in 2021. While football stars in a gambling ad would be banned under the new rules, ads featuring less-known personalities among the children such as Ray Winstone won’t be affected by the new rules. This means that Ray Winstone will be able to continue advertising for Bet365.

Manchester betting shops and casinos to close on Friday

While UK gambling regulators are discussing gambling-related advertisements in the state, a couple of cities will enter another lockdown. Joining Liverpool and Lancashire, Manchester is the third city that will enter a Tier 3 lockdown that is scheduled to start tomorrow. This leads to closure of more than 400 betting shops and 12 casinos after they were reopened in August.

To this, Michael Dugher, the chief executive of the BGC, has again come out and criticised the government for including casinos and betting shops in the lockdown. He explained that casino operators have spent a lot of money to ensure the safety of their customers and there is no proof that these venues pose a risk to the customers. In addition, he asked UK Business Secretary Alok Sharma for more financial support or for casinos and betting shops to be removed from the closures.

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