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UK Operators Required to Stop Ads that Can Appeal to Children

- October 23, 2017 By Oliver Young -

UK operators must not target minors with their ad campaigns.

The UKGC is one of the signatories of the letter sent to 450 operators.

There are certain changes in the way UK authorities deal with gambling issue and it is evident that the UKGC intensified its control over the industry. For example, recently the UKGC concluded that operators need to put greater efforts to suppress problem gambling. In addition, the pressure mounts on the Government to introduce new measures, some of which would effectively bring the revenues of the gambling operators down. Moreover, the operators might be forced to pay more in taxes.

The Labour Party reverted its attitude towards gambling which used to be pretty liberal when they were in Government before 2010 and the party pledged to introduce a new levy at its latest conference. The Labour Party also wants to ban gambling companies from sponsoring football clubs and other sports clubs and organisations.

The UKGC Is One of the Signatories

Now the latest attack on UK gambling operators has to do with their marketing policies. A letter signed by multiple organisations that was sent to the operators claims that many sites target children with their ad campaigns. The letter points out to the use of cartoon characters and other symbols that might look appealing to children.

Letter signatories include organisation like the UKGC and the body that is in charge of supervising advertising standard. The letter requires that casinos remove games and ads that contain references to cartoon characters. It is also stated that even if casinos don’t allow children to register and play real money games, they are still able to play in demo mode which might lead to developing a habit at an early age. That, it has been claimed, increases the risk of problem gambling.

Over 450 operators that offer their services in the UK have received the letter, including major companies like Bet365 and William Hill. The operators are suggested to remove all advertising products, displayed either at the website or in other media, that look like they appeal to people younger than 18.

Cartoon Themed Slots Are Seen as a Problem

The letter mentions particular slot games and suggests that elements like cartoon characters, free play demo mode available to everyone and the use of particular colours, taken individually or together might have a very strong appeal to minors and that might be an encouragement to illegal gambling.

The organisations that signed the letter feel that such ads are not acceptable and that haven’t ruled out sanctions against operators that fail to comply. Under the code issued by the Committee of Advertising Practice all gambling operators are obliged to socially responsible advertising.

The code forbids all marketing campaigns and ads which might appeal to youths or reflect characters or concepts that are in any way linked to youths and youth culture. That guarantees that young people and other vulnerable individuals will not be exploited. It is estimated that about 450,000 in England and Wales take part in gambling activities.

The chairperson of the Safer and Stronger Communities Board, Mr Simon Blackburn stated that local authorities have appealed to the UKGC asking for stricter advertising policies with the aim of protecting children and are pleased to see that something is done about that.

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