BGC reveals new measures to prevent minors being exposed to gambling ads online

The Betting and Gaming Council has unveiled a new set of measures to prevent children from seeing gambling ads online.

This morning, the Betting and Gaming Council (BGC) unveiled a new set of measures to prevent under-18s from viewing gambling advertising via online media verticals.

The newly introduced measure will form part of the BGC’s recently published “Sixth Industry Code for Socially Responsible Advertising” which will be implemented and self-enforced by member organisations from 1 October.

The new measures

Under the new measures, BGC members must ensure that all sponsored or paid for social media advertising materials must be targeted at consumers aged 25 and over unless the site can prove its adverts can precisely target over 18s.

An additional measure will include a requirement that gambling ads that appear on search engine must state that they are for people aged 18 and over. On top of this, gambling adverts must include safer gambling messaging.

YouTube users will also have to use age-verified accounts before they can view gambling advertising to ensure the ads cannot be seen by minors.

According to BGC’s statement, additional advertising measures will include the whistle to whistle ban on TV gambling ads. On top of this, there will be a requirement for 20% of all TV and radio ads to be safer gambling messages, cooling-off periods on gaming machines, encouraging deposit limits, new ID and age verification checks and massively increasing funding for research, education and treatment.

Michael Dugher, chief executive of the BGC, said: “As the new standards body for the regulated sector, we are committed to driving up standards within the betting and gaming industry.

“We have made excellent progress in recent times and the Industry Code for Socially Responsible Advertising is updated as technology evolves. The latest edition is further evidence of our determination to continue to ensure that standards are rising and are as high as they can possibly be.

“BGC members have a zero-tolerance attitude to under-18s betting, and from requirements for safer gambling messages to restrictions on YouTube advertising, this new code shows how seriously the BGC, who represent regulated betting but not the National Lottery, take our responsibilities.

“At the same time, we urge the Government to work with us to crack down on black market operators who have no interest in safer gambling or protecting their customers and do not work to the same responsible standards as BGC members.”

Responsible advertising

This comes after the Advertising Standards Agency (ASA) published the findings of its latest online monitoring sweep yesterday, which marked gambling as one of the worst offenders when it comes to underage advertising.

According to the data from the monitoring sweep, gambling advertisers were reported to have displayed the highest number of non-compliant gambling adverts to underage audiences.

The ASA data revealed that 70 different betting ads from four gambling operators appeared on eight websites with a large children audience. In other categories, 10 different alcohol ads from one brand appeared on one website and one e-cigarette ad appeared on one website.

Elsewhere in the gambling advertising space, last week, the BGC praised the success of the whistle to whistle ban on gambling ads during televised pre-watershed sporting events.

According to research carried out by media researchers Enders Analysis, the number of gambling adverts seen by four to 17-year-olds during the whistle to whistle period fell by 97% since the ban was implemented.

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