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The Committee for Advertising Practice (CAP) has announced the introduction of tough new rules for gambling ads to safeguard young people and vulnerable audiences.

These rules will significantly impact gambling advertisers looking to promote their brands using prominent sports people and celebrities as well as individuals like social media influencers, who are of strong appeal to those under 18.

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.”

This is a step-change from the existing rules that gambling ads must not be of “particular appeal” to children. A “strong” appeal test prohibits content (imagery, themes and characters) that has a strong level of appeal to under-18s regardless of how it is viewed by adults.

In practice, this will significantly restrict the imagery and references that gambling ads will be allowed to use and should decrease the potential for gambling ads to attract the attention of under-18s in an audience. For example, ads will not be able to use:

  • Topflight footballers and footballers with a considerable following among under-18 on social media.
  • All sportspeople well-known to under-18s, including sportspeople with a considerable volume of under-18 followers on social media.
  • References to video game content and gameplay popular with under-18s.
  • Stars from reality shows popular with under-18s, such as Love Island.

Advertisers have until 1 October 2022, when the rules will come into effect.

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

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