UKGC partners with Facebook to limit gambling ads

Simona Boshkova | Published 29 Sep 2020, 8:41 a.m.

The UK Gambling Commission has been in the focus on many gambling-related activities within the state. At the beginning of this month, the regulator launched its competition to award the fourth National Lottery operating licence that will face some key changes. In addition, as a result of the reopening of betting shops in the UK, the UKGC reported that online gambling revenue has decreased in July.

Since the main purpose of the UKGC is to protect the players, the regulator is constantly looking for initiatives to ensure a safe gambling environment. For that reason, it has partnered with Facebook to create guidance that will reduce the number of gambling-related ads that users see on the social media platform.

The guidance will reduce the exposure of gambling ads

Gambling advertisements can become endangered species on the Facebook feed in the UK after a deal between the social media platform and the country’s gambling regulator. Namely, the UK Gambling Commission has entered into a partnership with Facebook to create guidance for gambling ads on the platform. The guidance explains the different ways in which users can adjust their Facebook settings to control what they can and can’t see in their Newsfeed. The UKGC reached a similar agreement with Twitter in January.

Issuing this guidance will help the regulator mitigate the risk of exposure to gambling-related messages and ads. The guidance includes how Facebook users can hide ads from their Newsfeed and utilise the ‘Why am I seeing this ad?’ feature to hide all ads from a specific advertiser.  Moreover, users will be able to set preferences to the type and amount of ads they can see on different topics and they can control how their data is used to show ads on and off Facebook.

The Facebook consumer guide follows the UKGC’s advertising technology challenge issued in April to reduce the number of ads seen by young people and vulnerable adults. This announcement comes just days before the implementation of the UK’s new Gambling Industry Code for Socially Responsible Marketing. Among the changes is the requirement for online gambling affiliates to tag all ads with the hashtag #ad to ensure the customers understand when they’re being sold something. You can find the full Facebook guidance on the UKGC website.

New rules for slot speed and gameplay taking effect

Meanwhile, the UK Betting & Gaming Council (BGC) announced the new Game Design Code of Conduct intended to limit slot speeds and other features. The Code, which will be implemented by the end of the month, follows discussions between the BGC and game designers including Playtech and Scientific Games.

The new rules apply to most of the licenced gambling operators in the UK and include the slowing down of spin speeds in slots, banning some gaming features and improving access to safer gambling information. The most significant change applies to spin speeds, slowing down the future games to 2.5 seconds per spin, and prohibiting the use of turbo play. Moreover, the multi-slot play will be prohibited, which means that players won’t be able to place multiple bets on different games at the same time.

However, even if the new rules will come into effect soon, the BGC is still reviewing the results of the public consultation on how to improve online slots which means that further curbs may be on the way.