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Suzanne Townley

News Editor, Solicitors Journal

CAP announces changes to law on gambling ads

CAP announces changes to law on gambling ads


Advertisers must comply by 1 October 2022

The Committee for Advertising Practice (CAP) has announced today (5 April) the introduction of new rules applicable to gambling ads in a bid to improve safeguarding for young people and vulnerable audiences. The new rules come into effect on 1 October 2022.

The change comes after CAP launched a consultation in October 2020 following GambleAware’s Final Synthesis Report: The impact of gambling marketing and advertising on children, young people and vulnerable adults.

The report findings indicated regulatory changes would help continue to protect under-18s from gambling-related advertising harms.

Under the new rules, gambling and lottery ads must not “be likely to be of strong appeal to children or young persons, especially by reflecting or being associated with youth culture.” 

The change goes further than the existing rules, which simply state gambling ads must not hold “particular appeal” for children.

The “strong appeal” test prohibits content – imagery, themes and characters – that has a “strong level” of appeal to under-18s, regardless of how it may be viewed by adults.  

The application of this test will significantly restrict the imagery and references permitted in gambling ads. The aim is to decrease the potential for such ads to attract an under-18s audience.

For example, ads will not be able to feature:

·       Top footballers and footballers with a considerable social media following among under-18s;

·       All sportspeople well-known to under-18s, including those with a considerable social media following among under-18s;

·       References to video game content and gameplay popular with under-18s;

·       Contestants from reality shows popular with under-18s, such as Love Island.

These rules will significantly impact gambling advertisers looking to promote their brands using prominent sports people, celebrities and social media influencers, who are of strong appeal to those under-18.

Director of CAP, Shahriar Coupal, said: “The days of gambling ads featuring sports stars, video game imagery and other content of strong appeal to under-18s are numbered. By ending these practices, our new rules invite a new era for gambling ads, more particular to the adult audience they can target and more befitting of the age-restricted product they’re promoting.”