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Commission welcomes tighter gambling advertising standards

14 February 2018

The Gambling Commission has welcomed tightened advertising standards which focus on adverts appealing to problem gamblers and on free bets and bonuses.

The new standards (opens in new tab), announced by the Committees of Advertising Practice (CAP) today and enforced by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), will:

  • restrict ads that create an inappropriate sense of urgency like those including “Bet Now!” offers during live events
  • curb trivialisation of gambling (for example, encouraging repetitive play)
  • prevent approaches that give an irresponsible perception of the risk or control for example, “Risk Free Deposit Bonus”)
  • provide greater detail on problem gambling behaviours and associated behaviours indicators that should not be portrayed, even indirectly
  • prevent undue emphasis on money-motives for gambling
  • provide more detail on vulnerable groups like problem gamblers that marketers need to work to protect.

Further clarification surrounding terms and conditions for free bets and bonus offers has also been published. CAP has outlined that significant conditions must always be prominently displayed, with other terms and conditions being at most only one click away. This complements a joint programme of work with the Gambling Commission and Competition and Markets Authority to ensure terms and conditions for promotions are fair and transparent for consumers.

Ian Angus, Gambling Commission Programme Director, said: “The new advertising standards set clear expectations for the gambling industry. Gambling firms must not advertise in a way that could encourage problem gambling behaviour. Consumers must be able to make informed choices about how and when they gamble and not feel pressured into making decisions that could cause them harm.

“We expect gambling businesses to review the new guidance now and adjust any marketing and advertising accordingly. We support any enforcement activity by the ASA against operators who do not comply, and will not hesitate to take our own action against those who do not take their responsibilities seriously.”

The Gambling Commission has today fined an online gambling operator for repeatedly misleading consumers with adverts relating to free bonuses.

CAP’s new standards will come into effect on 2 April 2018.

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Last updated: 23 November 2023

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