Premier League footballers and Love Island influencers banned from UK gambling advertising

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The UK’s Committee for Advertising Practice (CAP) has toughened rules for gambling advertising which will see operators significantly limited in their ability to use public figures in marketing material.

From 1 October 2022, operators will no longer be able to advertise products using, for example, footballers with a considerable following among under-18s on social media, or any sportspeople well-known to under-18s, like the tweet below for example:

Other restrictions coming into effect include a ban on references to video game content and gameplay popular with under-18s, or the use of stars from reality TV shows popular with minors such as Love Island.

The changes will take place as a result of an adjustment to CAP rules relating to gambling advertisements and their appeal to minors. 

Previous rules stated the ads must not be of “particular appeal” to children, whereas the new rules state that gambling and lottery ads must not “be likely to be of strong appeal to children or young persons, especially by reflecting or being associated with youth culture.”

“Strong appeal” gives a broader range of limitations than “particular appeal”, by prohibiting any content likely to appeal to children, regardless of how it is viewed by adults. 

CAP director Shariar Coupal: “The days of gambling ads featuring sports stars, video game imagery and other content of strong appeal to under-18s are numbered.”

For example, while the use of a top-flight footballer to advertise gambling may not be specifically aimed at children, if the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) determines the player has strong appeal to children, the ad would not be permitted.

However, current footballers are prevented from directly starring in UK gambling adverts on integrity grounds. This no longer applies once they have retired, while the image rights of professional footballers can still be used if their club has a commercial deal in place with a bookmaker.

The changes follow on from a consultation launched by CAP in October 2020, in response to GambleAware’s Final Synthesis Report on the impact of gambling marketing and advertising on children, young people and vulnerable adults.

The findings of the report indicated that regulatory change would help continue to protect under-18s from gambling-related advertising harms.

“The days of gambling ads featuring sports stars, video game imagery and other content of strong appeal to under-18s are numbered,” said Shariar Coupal, director of CAP.

“By ending these practices, our new rules invite a new era for gambling ads, more particular to the adult audience they can target and more befitting of the age-restricted product they’re promoting.”

About the author

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Conor Mulheir

Conor entered the gaming industry in 2018 producing high-level live event content for audiences in London, Amsterdam and São Paulo. From 2020, he went on to report news and commission exclusive content for various gaming media brands before joining iGaming NEXT as editor in January 2022.

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