New rules for eGaming operators.
There has been a lot of concern about the level of gambling advertising either targeted at children or accessible to children on apps and on TV due to liberalisation of the market, new online platforms and cross-media advertising.
In December 2018, online gambling businesses agreed to a voluntary 'whistle to whistle' ban on advertising during live sports events broadcast before (or starting before) the TV watershed of 9pm. Regulators are also requiring eGaming businesses to step up efforts to protect children from online gambling harm.
eGaming operators need to be aware of a number of recent developments:
New rules on age verification procedures for online gambling operators
The Gambling Commission has issued new rules for remote gambling operators which will apply from 7 May 2019. Holders of remote online gambling licences will need to:
Additional CAP guidance on gambling ads and children
The Committees of Advertising Practice (CAP and BCAP) have published enhanced guidance for gambling operators on the placement of adverts and use of social media tools and data when targeting gambling adverts.
The revised guidance:
ASA ruling on age-restricted ads
The ASA has ruled against eGaming operator Tombola, holding that its adverts placed on the 'I'm a Celebrity get me out of here' app breached the CAP Code's prohibition on targeting gambling adverts at under 18s. The ASA found that:
Nonetheless, the ASA concluded that some under 18s would have downloaded the app and because there was no mechanism through which age-restricted adverts could be targeted only to the appropriate age group, it should not have been used to deliver gambling adverts.
This ruling potentially goes beyond the scope of CAP guidance on children and age-restricted adverts as it suggests an age-restricted advert should not be placed unless it can be directed away from an under 18 audience. The CAP guidance requires that marketers should be able to demonstrate that they have taken reasonable steps to exclude a relevant audience.
eGaming operators need to be careful to comply with the new guidance and age verification rules when they come into effect if not before.
App providers also need to think carefully about the kind of advertising they allow. In some cases, for example, with user generated content, they will need to tread carefully to ensure they do not assume liability. See our recent article for more.