Betting companies in the UK are facing new advertising crackdowns from regulator Gambling Commission, which has announced new rules to protect gamblers, raise standards in the gambling market and improve the way the industry is regulated.
The new rules come into force October this year and allows the Gambling Commission to impose unlimited fines for advertising breaches. This can include promotional gambling campaigns that appeal to children and glamorise gambling or advertisements that mislead customers.
The company will also introduce an eight-week deadline for betting companies to resolve any outstanding complaints with customers. Following the rules, companies that break advertising rules or breach consumer law will face tough action.
According to the Gambling Commision, the new rules will make it easier for the regulator to take action over law violations including misleading promotions and bonus offers or any restrictions on the withdrawal of customer winnings.
In addition, the Gambling Commission’s new rules allows action to be taken against gambling companies that send “spam” marketing emails or text messages. The companies will also be required to adhere to UK Advertising Codes and provide better complaints processes for consumers.
Children “bombarded” with gambling adverts during World Cup
The Gambling Commission’s new laws come after reports suggested that British viewers were exposed to around 90 minutes of betting adverts during the World Cup this year, prompting accusations that children were being “bombarded” with the adverts and encouraged to gamble.
From the beginning of the world-wide sporting event to England’s semi-final match against Croatia, ITV reportedly aired over eight and a half hours of advertisements, an hour and a half of which advertised gambling or betting.
Research reveals that advertisements for gambling and online casino companies received over an hour’s more screen time than alcohol companies and four times more screen time than fast food companies.
The Gambling Commission’s top priority is protecting customers
Working with the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) in 2016, the Gambling Commission launched a sector-wide investigation into whether betting firms were treating their customers fairly.
The investigation led the CMA to take action against several online betting firms who allegedly broke consumer law via their gambling promotions.
In a statement, Chief Executive of the Gambling Commission Neil McArthur insisted that protecting the interests of customers is a “priority” for the regulator.
He said: “These changes will protect consumers from irresponsible advertising and misleading promotions, ensure that they can withdraw their money more easily, and will mean that consumer complaints are dealt with more swiftly.”
Brian Chappell, the founder of Justice for Punters, said: “It’s positive to see that the Gambling Commission has finally recognised that gambling companies require much stricter regulation.
“Time will tell whether these new powers are used appropriately and if gambling consumers are able to obtain their rights quickly following unfair treatment. This announcement doesn’t cover all the injustices that occur, but it’s very welcome.”
The Gambling Commission’s new rules come into effect from October 31, 2018.