The Betting and Gaming Council (BGC) has praised a new Snapchat feature that allows users in the United Kingdom to opt out of gambling advertisements.
The standards body for gambling praised the feature in a post on the official BGC website, where they confirmed to have worked with Snapchat closely over the past year.
In the post, the BGC praised the new feature for giving consumers more control over the advertisements they see while also highlighting how the social media app meets the BGC’s Industry Code for Socially Responsible Advertising, which was released last year.
Under the BGC’s responsible advertising code, all BGC members are required to ensure that their social media ads only target consumers aged over 25 unless the website or platform can prove they are precisely targeting people over 18.
In a statement celebrating the feature, Michael Duger, the Chief Executive at the BGC, said: “This is yet more evidence of our commitment to raising standards in the regulated industry.
“I welcome this move by Snapchat and I would urge all social media and search platforms to provide the ability for users to opt out of viewing betting adverts.”
He added: “The regulated and gaming industry is determined to promote safer gambling, unlike the unsafe and growing online black market, which has none of the safeguards which are commonplace among BGC members.”
Ed Couchman, the General Manager for Snapchat UK, commented: “It has always been important to us that our community is able to influence the types of adverts they see on Snapchat.
“It’s fantastic to roll this change out and we’re grateful to have partners in the BGC who are doing vital work to ensure this industry continues to grow and evolve with consumers at the heart.”
The news comes after the Betting and Gaming Council praised the lifting of Covid restrictions in England, which Dugher said would “provide a much-needed boost to the [UK’s] economy” while helping casinos and betting shops across the country and those employed within the industry.
It also comes after the BGC urged the UK government to establish a gambling ombudsman to deal with customer concerns. Although systems for dealing with customer complaints already exist, the BGC believes a gambling ombudsman would improve the process and make it more consistent.
The UK Gambling Commission has published its latest report on how Covid-19 has impacted gambling behaviour across the nation.
The new report covers the period between March 2020 and May 2021, with the Commission reporting a steady decrease in online gambling activity as lockdown restrictions lift across the United Kingdom.
According to the Gambling Commission, operator data for May 2021 showed the number of active accounts dropped by 14% and gross gambling yield decreased by 5%, although the total bets placed remained at a similar level.
The Commission also reported that slots gross gambling yield increased to £211 million between April and May, the number of spins increased by 2%, but the number of active players dropped by 5%.
The report also stated that the number of online slots sessions lasting longer than an hour dropped by 1% to just below 2.6 million, but the average session length increased to 20.7 minutes with 9% of all online slots sessions lasting over an hour.
In its report, the UK Gambling Commission highlighted how participants in the research reported spending more time gambling than they used to, which led them to experiment with new products.
The Commission said in its report: “We recognise that the country is now entering a different phase as we continue to ease out of lockdown. We continue to expect extra vigilance from operators as consumers are impacted in different ways by the circumstances.
“Many people will still feel vulnerable as a result of the length of the pandemic period and further uncertainty about their personal or financial circumstances.”
The regulatory body then highlighted how the lockdown period might have changed consumers’ regular behaviour, which could cause difficulties as things turn back to normal. The Commission said:
“It is likely many have picked up new gambling routine and habits during lockdown that may be hard to change as things return to normal, even as normal spending on other things resumes. This could be challenging for some and important for operators to identify through their monitoring.”
The UK Gambling Commission also highlighted how the high level of sporting events set to take place over the summer will offer more opportunities for betting customers to gamble.
In response, the UK Gambling Commission expects gambling operators to continue following the strengthened guidance that was issued during the UK’s first official lockdown and to analyse data showing consumers expanding their game portfolio and spending more time or money than before.
The Commission also expects operators to interact directly where triggers are reached, to avoid exploiting the Covid-19 situation for marketing purposes, particularly with lockdown easing, and to take care when on-boarding new customers and making decisions over affordability checks.
Meanwhile, the UKGC will continue to take steps to strengthen its regulatory requirements to protect consumers and will continue to monitor operators closely and conduct compliance assessments.
The report comes after the UKGC published a new report in June, revealing that 30% of gamblers in the UK said that ads had encouraged them to gamble. As we reported, advertising in the form of a post or media was the most likely to push players to gamble, followed by free bets or money to spend with a gambling company.