Gambling ads shown on UK television should feature responsible gambling messages throughout their duration from the end of June 2018. The new requirement was introduced on Friday by the Industry Group for Responsible Gambling (IGRG) as the latest enhancement to its Code for Socially Responsible Gambling Advertising (Industry Code).
UK-facing gambling companies will thus be required to add a responsible gambling message or a reference to www.begambleaware.org to every gambling-related commercial on UK television and to make sure that the message is legible and runs throughout the length of the clip.
Established in 2014, IGRG is currently comprised of the Association of British Bookmakers, BACTA, the National Casino Forum, the Bingo Association, and the Remote Gambling Association. All of the aforementioned are trade bodies that represent the UK gambling industry and its various sectors.
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IGRG itself through its Industry Code aims to promote and encourage the provision of different gambling services in a socially responsible manner.
The introduction of the new TV advertising requirement came after a broader review of the UK Government into gambling companies advertising activity found that the www.begambleaware.org reference and other responsible gambling messages featured as part of adverts did not appear on screen long enough to be easily spotted by viewers.
The new advertising guidelines are included in the fourth edition of the Industry Code. The Code was first introduced in 2007 when the Gambling Act 2005 came into force. It was reviewed in 2016 and 2017.
IGRG said in a Friday statement that it is now committed to reviewing the Code on an annual basis so that emerging issues are resolved in a timely manner.
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Gambling Ads on UK Television
Television has long been among the most popular mediums among gambling operators to advertize their services on. According to a 2016 report by measurement firm Nielsen, UK-facing gambling companies spent £456 million to advertize on British television in the period between 2012 and 2015.
While a well-established watershed policy prevents gambling adverts from being shown before 9 pm, there are certain exceptions to the general rule. Under UK advertising regulations, gambling-related advertising content can be shown during live broadcasts of sports events throughout the day.
Anti-gambling campaigners have long been calling for an overall pre-watershed ban on gambling TV ads, citing concerns that these trivialize gambling to children and overexpose vulnerable people to the risks gambling activities may create.
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A recent report by the UK Gambling Commission indicated that while people, and children in particular, may not be watching television as they used to, gambling ads on TV are still reaching young and vulnerable members of the population. According to the report’s findings, 80% of all children aged 11 to 16 had seen gambling adverts on television and about 39% had seen these at least once a week.