UK Gambling Operators To Meet New Standards
Following a recent Sunday Times article, UK regulators have stepped up and addressed concerns over child gambling. The Sunday Times article claimed that online casinos were indirectly marketing to children when they made use of animated characters or fictional characters from children’s stories. Some pokies named directly by the article include Jack and the Beanstalk and Peter Pan.
In response to the article and concerns raised by the public, the UK Gambling Commission, the Advertising Standards Authority and the Committee of Advertising Practices sent a joint letter to all online gaming operators facing the UK market. The letter is a request to all operators that they must remove any child or youth orientated advertising that is freely available to the public. UK licensing authorities will also need to make sure that their affiliates also remove any advertising that could be perceived as attractive to under 18’s.
While this letter is urging operators to remove the ads freely, failure to comply with the request would saddle operators with immense fines. An example of a massive fine earlier this year was when BGO received a massive £300,000 fine for making use of inappropriate advertising. This move reflects the recent heavy-handed stance the UK Gaming Commission has taken towards non compliance.
Any operator may contact the Committee of Advertising Practices to check any advertising copy they wish to use on their websites. The committee provides helpful and practical copy advice to aid operators with meeting the industry standards set out.
The State Of UK Child Gambling
The Sunday Time article follows on the publishing of a report in the UK claiming that 450 000 children under 15 engage in some form of gambling every week. According to the report children under 15 enjoyed National Lottery cards, pokies and private bets. Of this figure it is estimated that 9000 children under 15 may be exhibiting problem gambling behaviour.
It is tough to take these figures seriously simply because of the supposed scale of the problem, but also since there is not much context given about the participants in the study.
As one director from the UK Gambling Commission said, to advertise to children is a self-defeating endeavour. Any money spent on enticing children to online gaming will bear no fruit, as children would not be able to engage in real money gaming at any online casino.
There are already many checks and balances that would, in general, prevent under aged person from engaging in real gambling. Since the open letter form advertising and gaming authorities on Friday, we are awaiting the outcome from operators this week.
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