Industry must take stock after warning letter from the UKGC

Industry must take stock after warning letter from the UKGC

Monday, October 23, 2017 Posted by Joseph Streeter
450 online gambling operators received the letter alongside a stern warning

Licensing expert David Clifton has warned that ‘public trust in the gambling industry will have been further eroded’ after the UK regulatory and licensing stakeholders issued a joint letter to online gambling operators, condemning any adverts that could be ‘appealing to minors’.

450 online gambling operators received the letter, alongside a stern warning that any future misconduct with regards to advertising standards would lead to stricter punishment from The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA).

Clifton told TotallyGaming.com that: “Recipients of the letter should take stock. They should review all of their advertising – whether on their own sites or in third party media – and should ask themselves whether it could possibly be said to appeal particularly to under 18 year olds.

“If it could, they must deal with it. However, they should also bear in mind that nothing has changed. The rules are still the rules. The law hasn’t changed – not yet, at least. What has changed though is public opinion. Readers of the adverse newspaper reports will have been affected by what they have read. Public trust in the gambling industry will have been further eroded. We know from all that has emanated from the Gambling Commission over the past year that this will inevitably result in even tighter regulatory controls being imposed. That is where the Sunday Times will claim victory.”

The letter, which was published by the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) and endorsed by the Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP) and The ASA, came after an article was published in the Times claimed that ‘lax industry regulation’ had led to betting operators using adverts that would appeal to children.

It stated that: “Recent articles in the UK national press have highlighted a number of freely accessible ads on gambling operator websites, which feature images that are likely to appeal particularly to under 18s. This is unacceptable.”

Totally Gaming says: Further damaging the public’s perception of the gambling industry is something that operators will desperately want to avoid, therefore, despite the implications of the the article published by the Times, it’s hard to believe that this wasn’t complete error of judgement and not a purposeful act by operators. Nonetheless, advertising wrongdoings, particularly with regards to potentially appealing to minors are something that operators need to eradicate.

 
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