Advertising in sights in latest UK gambling crackdown
A UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) executive says gambling operators in the country are currently going through “hell” with a strong political and public sentiments towards gambling advertising.
The program director for consumer protection & empowerment at the (UKGC), Ian Angus, while delivering a speech at the Responsible Marketing for Gambling Operators conference in London, told industry players that the future looks uncertain when it comes to advertising and is crucial they find different ways to promote their products.
With the recent “hardening public and political mood” towards gambling advertising, Angus said ignoring such calls could be detrimental.
The gambling industry continually receives bad press and has also had several negative mentions in parliament, which Angus believes paints a gloomy picture.
Angus noted that the quarterly online survey tracker data of the UKGC shows almost two-thirds of respondents felt gambling adverts “should be discouraged,” which according to him means “consumer trust in gambling is at an all-time low.”
The UK government managed to resist further advertising restrictions last October, claiming there was not enough evidence to prove that advertising has increased problem gambling.
However, the increase in betting ads during the 2018 Russia World Cup has resurrected consumers’ calls for restrictions on such ads.
He blamed the industry players for their non-compliance with advertising content and place rules, adding it “hasn’t been good enough.”
The gambling industry has been accused of targeting children in their adverts with products that appeal to them, displaying gambling ads in under-18 team sites and for sponsoring many football teams among other accusations.
By October 31, the UKGC will impose a new code of conduct for gambling operators. This new code according to Angus allows them to prescribe “tougher and swifter action, including fining” operators who flout the rules.