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The Gambling Commission is warning gambling operators to ensure advertising is not falling foul of social responsibility rules or deceiving consumers.

Marking the first financial penalty imposed by the Commission for advertising failings, BGO Entertainment Ltd (BGO) has been fined £300,000 for misleading advertising on its own and its affiliates’(3) websites.

Since May 2015, Licence conditions and codes of practice (LCCP) require all licensed gambling operators to include in their advertisements any significant limitations relating to promotions, to avoid misleading consumers. The Commission has worked closely with the Advertising Standards Authority to raise standards in this area. 

Programme Director Paul Hope said:

“We want to make sure that gambling is conducted fairly and openly. So, we have made it clear to the industry that misleading advertising is a serious issue. We have powers to tackle it, including the power to impose financial penalties such as this.”

The Commission first raised concerns with BGO about its advertising in July 2015. The investigation established that:

  • BGO and its affiliates published misleading advertisements for promotions
  • BGO did not take timely and effective action to address the misleading advertisements
  • BGO provided inaccurate assurances that the issues had been fully addressed.

The Commission encourages all operators to read the decision notice which sets out the findings and emphasises the importance of:

  • understanding and applying the rules relating to advertising, as set out in the LCCP, the CAP/BCAP Codes and the Guidance on the rules for gambling advertisements
  • taking responsibility for the actions of third parties such as affiliates, by making sure that marketing material they use is not misleading.

Mr Hope added: “We want operators to take note that the issues identified in the decision notice are likely to form the basis for future compliance assessments and could lead to enforcement action.” 

Notes to editors 

  1. More information about how we regulate the gambling industry.
  2. Useful statistics on the gambling industry
  3. Affiliate marketing is a type of commission-based marketing in which a business rewards an affiliate for each visitor or customer brought by the affiliate's own marketing efforts.

Journalists can contact our press office on 0121 230 6700 or email: communications@gamblingcommission.gov.uk

Posted on 02 May 2017