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CAP to Introduce New Online Gambling Advertising Regulations

- February 19, 2018 By Oliver Young -

UK bookies enjoy good FA Cup final turnover

UK online casino operators and bookmakers will have to update their marketing strategies to meet stricter advertising regulations.

UK online casino and sportsbetting operators will soon have to update their marketing strategies as the Committees of Advertising Practice (CAP) is expected to introduce new regulations regarding advertising. Certain common phrases are to be completely banned, while other segments will be heavily limited by the fresh laws, which should come into force 2 April.

Director of the CAP, Shahriar Coupal, stated that the Committees “won’t tolerate gambling ads that exploit people’s vulnerabilities.” Moreover, he added that promotions that urge consumers to “play fast and loose” due to lucrative free bet and bonus offers would be unacceptable as well. According to Coupla, the new regulations aims to strengthen the existing protections as well as to minimise the potential for doing harm.

Complete Ban on “Bet Now” Phrase

The news regarding the new online gambling advertising laws was first released by the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) in their Wednesday report. Responsible for creating and formulating the advertising rules in the UK, the watchdog revealed some of the changes that will take place.

One striking provision is the complete ban on the often-used phrase “bet now” that urges consumers to take part in online gambling or betting. Operators would also have to deal with restrictions when it comes to advertising special promos during live events, including football matches.

Other limitations will be instituted on advertisements that aim to boost repetitive play or falsely promote “risk free” payments and bets. Namely, in the fresh set of regulations it will be clearly stated that the so-called “risk free” casino bonuses will have to actually result in consumers facing no financial losses. Under the current regulations, bookmakers and casino operators are working in a grey area that lets them promote “risk free” offers that often result in players losing money.

Additionally, “money back” and “cashback” promotions would have to be better explained by operators, which will also have to give back cash instead of bonus credits.

Terms and Conditions Mandatory for “Free Bet” Promotions

Announced change to receive the most attention, however, seems to be the one regarding “free bet” offers. The Committees of Advertising Practice plans to introduce a regulation that will force bookmakers and casino operators to publish the specific terms and conditions and provide clear rules of such “free bet” promotions.

For example, operators often advertise “up to £50 free” or “up to £100 free bet” promotions. These turn out to be match offers, rather than true “free bets” and thus the CAP intends to demand clear explanations to be provided to consumers.

It is interesting that the news regarding the latest changes in advertising regulations come shortly after the popular operator ElectraWorks Limited was issued a large $488,600 fine by the UK Gambling Commission. Reportedly, seven of the operator’s sites were found to have broken existing applicable rules on promoting “free bonus” offers.

Moreover, the watchdog BBC revealed that the newly introduced rules would be utilised by the Advertising Standards Authority for future complains or levying fines.

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