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A look at the UK Advertising Standards guidelines for gambling

With ASA actions against online gambling ads now a regular occurrence, we thought we would take a quick look at the guidelines to see what they actually are and why these companies keep running afoul of them.

Recently, the Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP) and the Broadcast Committee of Advertising Practice (BCAP) published new advice for gambling advertisements focusing on clauses common to the television, radio and non-broadcast codes.

Both groups are independently administered by the Advertising Standards Authority and the new guidelines make clear that adverts should not suggest that gambling can provide an escape from personal, educational or professional problems such as loneliness or depression.

"Advertisements should not suggest that gambling can alleviate mental distress and should avoid portraying extreme contrasts in emotion before and after gambling," state the new guidelines.

"Advertisements may, however, feature someone in a state of excitement after a win or disappointed after a loss and may suggest that, enjoyed responsibly as a leisure activity, gambling can help relieve boredom."

In addition, any marketing communications should not suggest that solitary gambling is preferable to social gambling and should not exploit cultural beliefs or traditions regarding gambling or luck.

"These rules are not intended to prevent the depiction of solitary gambling online; they address concerns about people gambling alone," the new guidelines stress.

"An advertisement that contrasts solitary gambling favourably with social gambling is likely to fall foul of this rule."

"A gambling advertisement that features an adult losing track of time, shunning the company of others, retreating into private fantasy or engaging in secretive gambling is likely to breach the general principle of the Codes that advertisements should not portray, condone or encourage gambling behaviour that is socially irresponsible or could lead to financial, social or emotional harm."

"Advertisements should avoid the use of cultural symbols and systems such as horoscopes if those symbols relate to an existing, strongly and communally held belief. These rules are not intended to prevent references to symbols or obsolete superstitions that are unlikely to be taken seriously such as a clover leaf."

Source: InfoPowa News

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