The UK is set to ban celebrities from appearing in betting and gambling ads, according to newly proposed rules.
The supposed ban has been proposed in a new consultation held by the Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP), the organisation which is responsible for setting the code for advertising in the United Kingdom.
According to The Guardian, the proposed rules will prohibit celebrities such as reality TV stars, social media influences, and sports personalities from appearing in any gambling-related ads. Current rules only ban an advert if it’s more likely to appeal to someone under 18 than an adult, but the new rules will outright ban an advertisement if it appeals to children.
However, the rules also suggest that the decision to ban advertisements with a celebrity will depend on how popular the celebrity is with under-18s, and advertisements which feature celebrities who do not significantly appeal to younger audiences will not be banned.
The CAP has said that the new rules will have a significant effect on the use of celebrities in gambling advertisements. The organisation has proposed the new rules after a recent GambleAware study found that most gambling adverts that abide UK code are more likely to affect under-18s than adults.
Although many campaigning groups have called for a complete ban on gambling advertisements, the CAP said there was not enough evidence to justify a complete ban, and the organisation rejected calls from the charity to impose tighter restrictions on the media in which gambling adverts can appear in.
In a statement to FocusGN, The CAP Director Shahriar Coupal said: “The consultation proposes a strengthening of our rules and guidance which will help us in our ongoing work to prevent children, young and other vulnerable people from being harmed or exploited by gambling advertising.
“It responds to valuable research commissioned by GambleAware that has highlighted how gambling ads have more potential than previously understood to adversely impact these audiences – that’s something we take very seriously and that we are aiming to address.”
The CAP’s consultation is open now and will run through to January 22, 2021.
If the new rules are implemented, they will join the current whistle-to-whistle ban which prohibits gambling adverts from being aired on television during sports games.
More recently, the UK Gambling Commission announced a partnership with social media giant Facebook to reduce the number of gambling advertisements seen on the platform. Under the partnership, the Commission has issued new guidance to instruct Facebook users on how they can limit the number of gambling-related advertisements they see on the website.
The Commission’s guidance includes information on how users can adjust safety settings to change what they see, how users can hide items from their newsfeeds and control which ads are shown, and it instructs users on how they can use tools to limit the ads of a certain product or from select advertisers.
Meanwhile, a group of more than 50 cross-party MPs released a report earlier this year which called for a complete ban on gambling advertising. In addition, the report called for tighter rules on the online gambling sector including an end to VIP schemes, the introduction of a maximum £2 stake on video slots, additional mandatory affordability checks, as well as limits on the design of casino games.
Over the last year, both the Commission and the Betting and Gaming Council have implemented numerous restrictions on the gambling industry including a ban on using credit cards for gambling, a new code of conduct on the design and play of video slots, as well as new rules to “stamp out” malpractice regarding VIP schemes.
Gambling advertisements aren’t just facing tighter restrictions in the UK. This week, stadiums hosting Big Bash League cricket matches in New South Wales, Australia, have been banned from showing gambling ads.
As reported by Gambling Insider, the ban comes as part of a two-year partnership between the NSW Office of Responsible Gambling and Cricket NSW to address the normalisation of sports betting, raise awareness of gambling-related harm, and to prevent betting firms from advertising their services at cricket grounds across the region.
The partnership aims to promote a more family-friendly experience at matches which involve NSW Big Bash League teams such as the Sydney Thunder and Sixers.
Cricket NSW Chief Executive Lee Germon said in a statement: “We recognise the impact that constant sports betting advertising can have on young people and their families – particularly young men.
“The idea that kids are led to believe gambling is a normal part of sport is a real concern, so this is a step in the right direction that we’re proud to be taking.”
John Dalzell, the Chair of the Responsible Gambling Fund, also commented on the partnership and ban, saying: “Young people are under immense pressure to fit in and are more likely to take up gambling if they consider it to be a normal part of sport and they assume that everyone’s doing it.
“Having matches free of gambling advertising means families can reclaim the game and go back to enjoying sport without the concern that children are being constantly exposed to sports betting promotions.”
He added: “It will remove the assumption that gambling is a normal part of cricket and it will refocus attention back on the game and the players – the way it should be.”
Australia has already implemented a broadcast deal which bans gambling ads from appearing on free-to-air television during and within 30 minutes of matches. Despite this, many Australian sports organisations regularly take money from gambling companies, a move which continues to be heavily criticised across the country.
This news comes after Cricket Australia rejected a sponsorship from an unnamed gambling company last year because according to then-Chief Executive Kevin Reboerts, the Big Bash League was “fun, family entertainment”.