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Marketing within the gambling industry has been under intense scrutiny. The 2018 football World Cup saw a rise in complaints around the sheer volume of gambling adverts. Particularly claims on the amount of gambling adverts reaching children.

As a result, the Gambling Commission challenged the industry to put responsible advertising at the top of their agenda. And we’ve seen some positive outcomes - such as the 'whistle to whistle' ban - which stops adverts during live sporting events. 

To support progress in this area, we organised a co-creation workshop which focused on challenges and opportunities in marketing and safer gambling.

Why was this event different?

We wanted to hear views of those responsible for creating marketing campaigns. It was an opportunity to share current practices, learn about shared challenges and start taking first steps in collaboration on joint solutions.

The objectives for the event were:

  • To promote collaboration and drive culture change
  • To facilitate industry marketing professionals discussing challenges and opportunities related to brand, advertising and safer gambling strategies
  • To provide an external perspective on the ability of marketing to impact social change
  • To start looking at joint approaches to address marketing research findings
  • To work with attendees and create a shareable set of recommendations (below) to improve marketing practices.



Design process



It's challenging to recruit candidates with a regulation mindset. The pool of experienced gambling marketeers is limited. Brand reputation can help attract stronger candidates.


Incorporate marketing compliance consideration into the design process from the start. Ensure your team members understand their individual responsibilities in relation to marketing compliance.


Of Training

Your team members should understand the compliance element of their roles, work in line with your safer gambling strategy and constantly go through online training to be up to speed.



Listening to customers and contact centre calls provides invaluable insight into your audience. Consider specific training relating to compliance, marketing guidelines and gambling harms as part of inductions.


Don’t treat it like a tick box exercise. Aim to integrate marketing compliance with marketing. Consider having a marketing compliance owner within your department and how to involve compliance throughout the design process.

Responsible Gambling

Responsible gambling and evaluation need to be integrated. Incorporate evaluation in marketing processes, alongside commercial evaluation. How could you approach evaluating marketing elements?

Team Objectives

Should be consistent across the business, product design, data and other departments involved in marketing campaigns. Consider tying responsible gambling metrics with financial KPIs and incorporate appropriate reporting to monitor both.

Single Customer View

Work with your teams and have a consistent approach to marketing to individuals who return to gambling after a period of self-exclusion as well as customers who are under risk reviews on the back of activity indicating potential risk of harm.


Coordinate your activity with compliance to understand product innovation, associated risks and work together on marketing solutions fit for the current regulatory landscape.


What does customer-centricity mean for responsible advertising?

A customer-centric approach focuses on providing a positive customer experience.

We invited an independent marketing agency who presented successful, non-gambling customer-centric ad campaigns.

The marketers discussed the approaches to socially responsible marketing ads. Balancing both commercial and responsible messages, as well as understanding the impact on the audience.  In particular the content of gambling ads, celebrity personalities and the positioning and impact of safer gambling messaging.

The group also discussed the challenges around building content which will get the attention of  individuals who might be experiencing harm.

Attendees agreed authenticity was crucial when delivering a responsible message. Not only in tone of voice and messaging, but through visuals, as imagery should also reflect the brand’s identity.

The power of brand to attract new customers can be harnessed to safeguard them. At the same time, this can also impact existing customers.

The rise, and rise, of mobile gambling

Did you know the average person checks their phone every twelve minutes?

Part of the day focused on the impact of mobile and marketing via different online channels. Delegates discussed the opportunities which exist within digital. For example personalisation, digital disruption via carefully timed, in-app messaging and having a single customer view.

We also looked at two recent pieces of research, consumer research carried out by 2CV and gambling advertising market research by Ipsos MORI. The group discussed how using technology better could help to minimise the risks of children or vulnerable adults seeing gambling advertising.

Attendees focused on challenges around affiliate marketing and ensuring content is seen by the right audiences. They discussed current solutions such as automated platforms which can help to track where the ads appear.   

First steps in industry collaboration – what comes next?

Finally, the group worked together to create a set of recommendations for their peers on:

  • Managing marketing teams
  • Marketing design processes
  • Marketing evaluation

You can read the full recommendations, along with ideas generated throughout the day in our Marketing co-creation workshop presentation.

The next steps will include a follow-up event next year. We will also be linking outputs from this workshop in our future project on establishing a single customer view.

This event was run by the Gambling Commission’s Insight Engagement team. We would like to thank all the attendees who joined us for their contributions.

Would you like to take part in future events? We are planning future collaborative projects in the areas highlighted throughout the day. If you are a marketer in the gambling industry, and would like to get involved, please email us.  

Posted on 25 October 2019