The Betting and Gaming Council (BGC) has declared new measures to further prevent those aged under 18 from seeing digital media advertisements.
Representing the UK regulated betting industry, the standards body announced earlier this month some changes that will be published in the Seventh Industry Code for Socially Responsible Advertising (IGRG code).
Aside from raising advertising standards for young people, the new code will also extend the current commitment, which makes sure that 20% of radio and TV advertising is dedicated to safer gambling messaging, including digital media advertising as well.
Major steps have already been undertaken by BGC members to ensure that only those legally allowed to bet see online marketing for regulated gaming and betting products.
Previous rules state that all sponsored and paid for social media ads must be targeted at consumers aged 25 and beyond, unless the website can prove its ads can be precisely targeted at over 18s.
Under the new guidelines, the 25+ rule will be extended to all digital media platforms which use an appropriate age filter.
The new code, set to be enforced on December 1, 2023, is the latest move by BGC to show its determination on driving up standards within the betting and gaming industry.
Other measures already introduced include:
- Ban on TV gambling adverts
- Cooling off periods on gaming machines
- Encouraging deposit limits
- New ID and age verification checks
- Massively increasing funding for education, research and treatment
A BGC code of conduct was also introduced, placing a ban on football clubs using their social media accounts (something popular with youngsters) to post direct marketing on betting odds and sites.
BGC members have also called out social media platforms to allow people to opt-out from receiving gaming and betting ads online. Earlier this year, BGC Chief Executive Michael Dugher wrote to DCMS, urging the Department to put pressure on social media platforms to do more.
DCMS Minister Stuart Andrew MP has since stated he will convene a meeting to help drive change.
BGC members take a zero-tolerance approach to betting done by children. According to the Gambling Commission's ‘Young People and Gambling Report' (2022) the most popular forms of betting by children are arcade games like penny pusher and claw grab machines (22%), , playing cards for money (5%), fruit machines (3%) and bets between friends (1%) - not with BGC members.
BGC Chief Executive Michael Dugher said:
"As the standards body for the regulated sector, we are committed to continuing to drive up standards and make big changes across the betting and gaming industry. Helping protect young people is our number one priority.
BGC Members have already taken significant steps to ensure adverts by our members only reach the right audiences. With more help from the platforms, we can do even more.
Safer gambling messaging is also absolutely crucial. It is about ensuring that customers use safer gambling tools like setting deposits limits and time outs, but also it is about the vitally important work of signposting the help that is out there to help the minority of gamblers who might be struggling with their betting and gaming.
The new edition of the IGRG Code is further evidence of our determination to continue to ensure that standards are rising and are as high as they can possibly be".
BGC worked with Bacta, Bingo Association and the Lotteries Council to formulate these new rules and ensure it was a cross-industry effort.