The Betting and Gaming Council, the main public body of the UK’s world-leading gambling industry, has sharpened up its social medial rules to stop advertising appearing on the social media feeds of football clubs.
The self-imposed restrictions are intended to stop young people, and especially the under-18s who are legally not allowed to gamble in the UK, from seeing ads for casino and gambling businesses.
The new rules rule out calls to action (a marketing term that refers to the final “come and buy” message in a message) and links to gambling sites from organic (not paid-for) social media posts. Posts can no longer include bonus odds and offers, either.
The industry still allows these forms of promotion in paid for posts, often called promoted posts, as these can be closely targeted to the age groups that are legally allowed to gamble.
The proposals have been sent to the Premier League and the English Football League, whose clubs are major players in the gambling industry, largely through shirt sponsorship deals.
“Football clubs are an important part of the sporting fabric of this country, followed by millions of all ages on social media,” BGC chairman Brigid Simmonds explained.
“Our members rightly have a zero-tolerance approach to gambling by under-18s, so as an industry we are understandably concerned that children may be exposed to betting adverts on social media platforms.
“Our new guidelines make clear the standards expected of football clubs when they post gambling promotions on social media, and I look forward to them being put into practice as soon as possible.”
Not all gambling businesses are members of the BGC, but the Council is urging football clubs to take the same precautions with posts linked to businesses who are not.
That could all be avoided if the BGC’s request for social media giants, Facebook and Twitter, to limit gambling advertising to over 25s only were heeded.
The BGC introduced new marketing standards for its members last year. The Gambling Commission was also a partner in the process.
The gambling industry is under enormous pressure. The UK is the world’s largest gambling market, but the enormous explosion in gambling that accompanied, first, deregulation after 2005, and then the growth of internet gambling has been accompanied by a growing concern that the industry does not do enough to protect vulnerable customers.
The UK Gambling Commission, the industry regulator, is undertaking a major review of gambling legislation that is due to report this year. The industry has been taking steps to pre-empt regulation that they fear will be very restricting.
The UK GC has already introduced new rules on slot play, and gambling businesses and industry organisations are also scrambling to provide better safe gambling advice, support and promotion.
Players can only look on and try to prepare for whatever changes may come. Most often trailed are advertising bans that would have little impact on current legal site users, but also staking limits that would affect how players use casino sites in the UK.