Back in November 1st 2014, the Gambling (Licensing and advertising) Act 2014 came into effect. The act made a handful of changes to gambling advertising, the key change of which was the restriction of having under 25 year old actors star in gambling adverts.The act is legally binding and is enforced by CAP and the ASA (Advertising Standards Agency). Until this point there had only be infractions regarding television advertisements. But over the last few months, several tweets have been taken to task for breaching the code.
What The Advertising Regulation Entails
For the most part, actors under 25 are not allowed to feature in advertisements relating to gambling. There are a few extenuating circumstances where this doesn’t have to be the case.
- Actors are demonstrating how to use a function not related to gambling e.g demoing the casino’s website
- Actors are the subject of the bet and not gambling themselves e.g they are a young athlete who is being bet on
The law goes deeper than this, as it regulates that actors of any age can’t be shown to act childish or juvenile, to avoid unintentionally promoting gambling to children.
Influencing children appears to be the main concern of regulators like the ASA and the UKGC. We’ve seen a similar story a few months ago when Spin Genie’s own adverts were deemed to be too fantastical and in danger of promoting gambling to children. This is why we saw such a strong creative shift in their advertising straight after this.
Regulating Social Media Advertising
Most companies will attempt to advertise on social media like Facebook and Twitter. This was seen as work around to the restrictions of the Gambling Advertising Act. However, in the last few months, a few large casinos have been taken to task for tweeting images which break the rules of the new regulations.
In June 2015, William Hill was reprimanded for tweeting a picture of a child jumping in the air holding a ball and a golf club. Under the rules of the act, this was seen as a breach of the regulations.
October saw Coral also stumble over the same issue, when it tweeted 3 tweets which featured the image of the golfer Jordan Spieth. He was seen either playing golf or holding a trophy. Since he is under 25 and wasn’t featured in the tweets as the subject of a bet to be placed, this was ruled as breaching the gambling advertising act.
Continued Gambling Advertising Regulation
This is certainly an interesting development in gambling regulation. This step into social media, going so far as to regulate individual tweets, will have interesting effects on how casino operators behave on social media.
Casino operators like Paddy Power are very risque when it comes to their social media tweets and have a reputation for skirting the line of rule breaking when it comes to their advertising. The’ve found themselves in trouble with the ASA many times before due to this attitude.
As advertising regulation begins to leave traditional media and starts to tread on new media’s territory, it’ll be interesting to see how casino operators function within these tighter parameters.