Celebrities May Be Banned from UK Gambling Ads

Celebrities May Be Banned from UK Gambling Ads

As part of the latest crackdown on betting adverts on UK television, the use of celebrities, sports stars, and reality TV personalities is expected to be soon banned.

Under new rules aimed at cracking the whip when it comes to gambling companies targeting their marketing at under-18’s, there have been proposals made by the UK’s leading body for the responsibility of advertising’s code of conduct.

Previously celebs such as Ray Winstone, who was the face of bet365’s live in-play betting ads for several years, and Harry Redknapp, Jose Mourinho, and even Michael Owen were used in betting commercials. The proposals could end up, resulting in many such ads being scrapped.

Potential Changes to Ad Rules in the UK

Currently, the rules state that an advert may be banned only when it is likely to appeal more to an under-18 than to an adult, which of course, is subjective.

However, the new rule proposals could mean that a commercial could be banned if and when it appeals to children, regardless of whether or not it appeals to adults also which on the face of it seems a subtle difference.

The CAP, Committees of Advertising Practice, has set-up a new public consultation on the proposed measures and has said the rules might have a strong effect on commercials using celebrated sportsmen and women and other prominent public figures. These include reality TV contestants and social media influencers.

Under the rules, a prominent footballer such as an England player appearing in a gambling advert would now be prohibited.

Not all ads as we know them will be banned. Those featuring celebrities deemed not to resonate with young people, such as the Ray, as mentioned above Winstone, may not be forbidden under the new guidelines.

GambleAware Research at the Forefront of Potential Rule Changes

More recent research has been done by GambleAware, the independent body with a framework agreement with the Gambling Commission in the UK. The CAP is said to be tightening gambling-related advertising restrictions on the back of it.

The findings of said research have apparently shown that the all-important creative content of adverts for betting companies currently fit within the UK code but has more pull with under-18’s than was thought to be the case previously.

Campaign groups have spoken out repeatedly to call for a total ban on gambling advertising, though that has been dismissed by CAP, who have said the evidence available currently on its effects does not justify a total ban.

Currently, betting and gambling advertisements are not allowed to appear within any media in which more than 25% of the audience is thought to be under 18. CAP has not put forward any GambleAware recommendations to further restrict the range of media on which betting adverts can appear and considers the one-quarter test to be right and proper.

Back in the summer of 2019, the entire gambling industry got together to launch a voluntary ban on betting adverts during certain sports shows. This was called the “whistle-to-whistle blackout,”, i.e. no gambling ads were allowed during a live football game, which was done under the weight of increasing pressure to protect young and vulnerable people from undue exposure to betting.

Currently, that rule does not apply to horse racing, which is partly funded by the betting industry.

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