Harsher Advertising Rules For Online Casinos UK Come Into Force Today

The Betting and Gaming Council (BGC) today announced its new industry regulations for online casinos UK. The new measures aim to  minimise underage gambling.

In the UK, it’s illegal for gambling operators to allow under 18s to gamble. But, age verification checks aren’t as always as thorough as they could be. The BGC is bringing in changes to advertising laws to add extra protection for underage gamblers.

Who is the BGC?

The Betting and Gaming Council (BGC) is the single gambling industry’s trade association. They exist to represent the interests of betting and gaming businesses, including betting shops and online casinos. BGC has members from the entire spectrum of the gambling industry.

Because they’re the trade body for the gambling industry, you might assume that they put profit above people. But, they aim to uphold industry standards and improve and maintain the industry’s reputation. Consequently, this means ensuring a fair and safe betting experience for all involved.

BGC membership includes many of the UK’s gambling operators, including Paddy Power, White Hat Gaming, and NetEnt. All the big names and you can find the complete list here. The notable missing operator is the National Lottery, which falls under a different trade body.

The bottom line is that the BGC wants to create standards that increase trust in the gambling industry, both from the public and from the betting and gaming operators. The latest move reflects this.

Online Casinos (UK) Must Engage In Socially Responsible Advertising

The latest move introduces tough new advertising measures for online gambling advertising. They published the details in the “Sixth Industry Code for Socially Responsible Advertising”.

All BGC members must now make sure that their social media advertising only targets people over the age of 25 unless they can specifically target over 18s. They need to be able to prove their targeting only reaches people over the age of 18, and if they can’t, then adverts can only target over 25s.

It’s a little confusing for those of you who don’t work in advertising, but targeting is typical, and the internet has allowed us to be very precise with the people who will see an advert.

Any advert from a BGC member must also have a clear message that it’s only for people aged 18 and over. And we all know how well that worked with tv, music and films. Advertisers will need to include information about safer gambling too. Operators will also need to tweet regular safe-gambling messages on their Twitter accounts too.

Additionally, only YouTube users with an age-verified account will be able to see gambling adverts in the UK.

The new measures come into effect from the 1st of October 2020. It comes amid a recent push by the BGC to drive up industry standards. Other recent initiatives included the whistle-to-whistle ban on gambling adverts before 9 pm (no gambling adverts on TV from 5 minutes before to 5 minutes after a sporting event) and a requirement for 20% of TV gambling advertising to be about safer gambling.

Picture of a younge person on their phone to represent underage gambling on online casinos (uk)

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