Is self-regulation of UK gambling ads working?

Is self-regulation of UK gambling ads working?

The answer is no, at least based on findings from a study of media coverage during the kick-off weekend of Premier League football (11-14 August).  The coverage included TV and radio broadcasts and social media. Perhaps the most significant conclusion reached by the study is that gambling ads and messages “were omnipresent and virtually unavoidable” and “saturated the media landscape”.

One of the more significant findings of the study is that 92% of content marketing ads on social media were in breach of regulations “by not being clearly identifiable as advertising, representing a serious violation of consumer rights.” During the televised 6 Premier League matches included in the study only 14.5% included gambling harm reduction messages, while 11.1% included age warnings.

Some of the study findings in numbers.

The study concluded with three main recommendations. The first was the introduction of legislation to comprehensively regulate gambling messages during football matches. The second recommendation called for legislation that clearly bans sponsorship on football shirts. Finally, the study recommended a clarification and strengthening of regulations pertaining to social media content marketing.

The Betting and Gaming Council challenged the research, saying it “fundamentally misunderstands advertising and how it is regulated”.

“Betting advertising and sponsorship must comply with strict guidelines and safer gambling messaging, which promotes safer gambling tools and signposts to help those concerned about their betting, is regularly and prominently displayed,” a spokesperson said. 

Earlier this month, the UK Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) banned an ad for the People’s Postcode Lottery.  The ad seemed to suggest that playing the lottery could help solve financial troubles. The ad showed a couple who had to call of their wedding after one of them was made redundant. Wedding bells were back when they won a five-figure sum on the lottery.

The study was carried out between the University of Bristol and ITN, an independent production company.

Join us in Malta between the 13 – 17 November for SiGMA Europe 2023

SiGMA Europe’s Malta Week festival brings together a diverse and international group of industry leaders for a convergence of expo, conference, and networking. The event will be held at the Mediterranean Maritime Hub (MMH), a larger, more dynamic venue that promises a raw, industrial, and unconventional space unlike anything ever used before.

In the words of SiGMA Group founder Eman Pulis, ““We’re redesigning your entire experience, from the minute you land in Malta until the very last moment. I look forward to welcoming you with open arms to this iGaming festival.”

Find all the details here.

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