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5 - Marketing

This is a consolidated version of the codes of practice for licensing authorities.

You can view the full Licence Conditions and Codes of Practice online.

5.1.1 - Rewards and bonuses – SR code

Applies to:

All licences (including ancillary remote licences), except gaming machine technical and gambling software licences

Social responsibility code

Compliance with these is a condition of licences; therefore any breach of them by an operator may lead the Commission to review the operator’s licence with a view to suspension, revocation or the imposition of a financial penalty and would also expose the operator to the risk of prosecution.

  1. If a licensee makes available to any customer or potential customer any incentive or reward scheme or other arrangement under which the customer may receive money, goods, services or any other advantage (including the discharge in whole or in part of any liability of his) (‘the benefit’) the scheme must be designed to operate, and be operated, in such a way that:

    1. the circumstances in which, and conditions subject to which, the benefit is available are clearly set out and readily accessible to the customers to whom it is offered;
    2. neither the receipt nor the value or amount of the benefit is:
      1. dependent on the customer gambling for a pre-determined length of time or with a pre-determined frequency; or
      2. altered or increased if the qualifying activity or spend is reached within a shorter time than the whole period over which the benefit is offered.
    3. if the value of the benefit increases with the amount the customer spends it does so at a rate no greater than that at which the amount spent increases; and further that:
    4. if the benefit comprises free or subsidised travel or accommodation which facilitates the customer’s attendance at particular licensed premises the terms on which it is offered are not directly related to the level of the customer’s prospective gambling.
  2. If a licensee makes available incentives or reward schemes for customers, designated by the licensee as ‘high value, ‘VIP’ or equivalent, they must be offered in a manner which is consistent with the licensing objectives.

Licensees must take into account the Commission’s guidance on high value customer incentives.

5.1.2 - Proportionate rewards

Applies to:

All licences (including ancillary remote licences), except gaming machine technical and gambling software licences

Ordinary code

These do not have the status of operator licence conditions but set out good practice. Operators may adopt alternative approaches to those set out in ordinary code provisions if they have actively taken account of the ordinary code provision and can demonstrate that an alternative approach is reasonable in the operator's particular circumstances; or that to take an alternative approach would be acting in a similarly effective manner. Ordinary codes of practice are admissible in evidence in criminal or civil proceedings and must be taken into account in any case in which the court or tribunal think them relevant, and by the Commission in the exercise of its functions; any departure from ordinary code provisions by an operator may be taken into account by the Commission on a licence review, but cannot lead to imposition of a financial penalty.

  1. Licensees should only offer incentive or reward schemes in which the benefit available is proportionate to the type and level of customers’ gambling.

5.1.3 - Alcoholic drinks

Applies to:

All non-remote bingo and casino licences

Social responsibility code

Compliance with these is a condition of licences; therefore any breach of them by an operator may lead the Commission to review the operator’s licence with a view to suspension, revocation or the imposition of a financial penalty and would also expose the operator to the risk of prosecution.

  1. If licensees offer customers free or discounted alcoholic drinks for consumption on the premises they must do so on terms which do not in any way link the availability of such drinks to whether, or when, the customer begins, or continues, to gamble.

  2. Licensees must not make unsolicited offers of free alcoholic drinks for immediate consumption by customers at a time when they are participating in gambling activities.

5.1.4 - Promotion by agents

Applies to:

All non-remote casino licences

Social responsibility code

Compliance with these is a condition of licences; therefore any breach of them by an operator may lead the Commission to review the operator’s licence with a view to suspension, revocation or the imposition of a financial penalty and would also expose the operator to the risk of prosecution.

  1. Where a licensee employs agents to promote its business (wherever that business is conducted), it must ensure that its agreement with any agent makes clear that the agent must not encourage players to play longer or wager more than the player might otherwise do. In particular, payments should not be directly dependent upon, nor directly calculated by reference to, the length of time for which, or frequency with which, the customer gambles. If the payment to the agent increases with the amount the customer spends it must do so at a rate no greater than that at which the amount spent increases.

5.1.5 - Mailing of lottery tickets

Applies to:

All lottery licences

Ordinary code

These do not have the status of operator licence conditions but set out good practice. Operators may adopt alternative approaches to those set out in ordinary code provisions if they have actively taken account of the ordinary code provision and can demonstrate that an alternative approach is reasonable in the operator's particular circumstances; or that to take an alternative approach would be acting in a similarly effective manner. Ordinary codes of practice are admissible in evidence in criminal or civil proceedings and must be taken into account in any case in which the court or tribunal think them relevant, and by the Commission in the exercise of its functions; any departure from ordinary code provisions by an operator may be taken into account by the Commission on a licence review, but cannot lead to imposition of a financial penalty.

1 With a view to minimising the risk of fraud, licensees who are non-commercial societies or external lottery managers should adopt one or more of the following measures:

  1. prohibit the unsolicited mailing of tickets to non-members of the promoting society
  2. limit the value of tickets sent to any one address which is not that of a member of the promoting society to £20
  3. maintain records of tickets distributed and not returned.

5.1.6 - Compliance with advertising codes

Applies to:

All licences, except lottery licences

Social responsibility code

Compliance with these is a condition of licences; therefore any breach of them by an operator may lead the Commission to review the operator’s licence with a view to suspension, revocation or the imposition of a financial penalty and would also expose the operator to the risk of prosecution.

  1. All marketing of gambling products and services must be undertaken in a socially responsible manner.

  2. In particular, Licensees must comply with the advertising codes of practice issued by the Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP) and the Broadcast Committee of Advertising Practice (BCAP) as applicable. For media not explicitly covered, licensees should have regard to the principles included in these codes of practice as if they were explicitly covered.

  3. The restriction on allowing people who are, or seem to be, under 25 years old (ie: those in the 18-24 age bracket) to appear in marketing communications need not be applied in the case of non-remote point of sale advertising material, provided that the images used depict the sporting or other activity that may be gambled on and not the activity of gambling itself and do not breach any other aspect of the advertising codes.

5.1.7 - Compliance with advertising codes (lotteries)

Applies to:

All lottery licences

Social responsibility code

Compliance with these is a condition of licences; therefore any breach of them by an operator may lead the Commission to review the operator’s licence with a view to suspension, revocation or the imposition of a financial penalty and would also expose the operator to the risk of prosecution.

  1. All marketing of gambling products and services must be undertaken in a socially responsible manner.

  2. In particular, Licensees must comply with the advertising codes of practice issued by the Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP) and the Broadcast Committee of Advertising Practice (BCAP) as applicable. For media not explicitly covered, licensees should have regard to the principles included in these codes of practice as if they were explicitly covered.

5.1.8 - Compliance with industry advertising codes

Applies to:

All licences

Ordinary code

These do not have the status of operator licence conditions but set out good practice. Operators may adopt alternative approaches to those set out in ordinary code provisions if they have actively taken account of the ordinary code provision and can demonstrate that an alternative approach is reasonable in the operator's particular circumstances; or that to take an alternative approach would be acting in a similarly effective manner. Ordinary codes of practice are admissible in evidence in criminal or civil proceedings and must be taken into account in any case in which the court or tribunal think them relevant, and by the Commission in the exercise of its functions; any departure from ordinary code provisions by an operator may be taken into account by the Commission on a licence review, but cannot lead to imposition of a financial penalty.

  1. Licensees should follow any relevant industry code on advertising, notably the Gambling Industry Code for Socially Responsible Advertising.

5.1.9 - Other marketing requirements

Applies to:

All licences

Social responsibility code

Compliance with these is a condition of licences; therefore any breach of them by an operator may lead the Commission to review the operator’s licence with a view to suspension, revocation or the imposition of a financial penalty and would also expose the operator to the risk of prosecution.

  1. Licensees must ensure that their marketing communications, advertisement, and invitations to purchase (within the meaning of the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008) do not amount to or involve misleading actions or misleading omissions within the meaning of those Regulations.

  2. Licensees must ensure that all significant conditions which apply to marketing incentives are provided transparently and prominently to consumers. Licensees must present the significant conditions at the point of sale for any promotion, and on any advertising in any medium for that marketing incentive except where, in relation to the latter, limitations of space make this impossible. In such a case, information about the significant conditions must be included to the extent that it is possible to do so, the advertising must clearly indicate that significant conditions apply and where the advertisement is online, the significant conditions must be displayed in full no further than one click away.

  3. The terms and conditions of each marketing incentive must be made available for the full duration of the promotion.

5.1.10 - Online marketing in proximity to information on responsible gambling

Applies to:

All licences

Ordinary code

These do not have the status of operator licence conditions but set out good practice. Operators may adopt alternative approaches to those set out in ordinary code provisions if they have actively taken account of the ordinary code provision and can demonstrate that an alternative approach is reasonable in the operator's particular circumstances; or that to take an alternative approach would be acting in a similarly effective manner. Ordinary codes of practice are admissible in evidence in criminal or civil proceedings and must be taken into account in any case in which the court or tribunal think them relevant, and by the Commission in the exercise of its functions; any departure from ordinary code provisions by an operator may be taken into account by the Commission on a licence review, but cannot lead to imposition of a financial penalty.

  1. Licensees should ensure that no advertising or other marketing information, whether relating to specific offers or to gambling generally, appears on any primary web page/screen, or micro site that provides advice or information on responsible gambling

5.1.11 - Direct electronic marketing consent

Applies to:

All licences

Social responsibility code

Compliance with these is a condition of licences; therefore any breach of them by an operator may lead the Commission to review the operator’s licence with a view to suspension, revocation or the imposition of a financial penalty and would also expose the operator to the risk of prosecution.

  1. Unless expressly permitted by law consumers must not be contacted with direct electronic marketing without their informed and specific consent. Whenever a consumer is contacted the consumer must be provided with an opportunity to withdraw consent. If consent is withdrawn the licensee must, as soon as practicable, ensure the consumer is not contacted with electronic marketing thereafter unless the consumer consents again. Licensees must be able to provide evidence which establishes that consent.
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