Just last week, the UK’s Gambling Commission announced a fresh set of laws that require gaming sites to perform early identity checks on their players. A new set of UK gambling ad restrictions have now been announced this week by the Advertising Standards Authority. Gaming operators here will soon be banned from purposely advertising to anyone likely to be under 18 years of age.
It’s an unsurprising move by a country that’s cracking down on gambling regulations more and more every year. Let’s take a look at what has led to these new laws and discuss what this will mean for the gambling industry moving forward.
The UK has implemented a number of new restrictions on their online gambling industry over the past decade. The first set of laws to regulate the online market came in 2005 under the Gaming Act. These laws established licensing procedures and tax rates for gambling operators in the country.
The laws regarding online gambling have changed quite a bit since then. Just this past week, the Gambling Commission made an update. Starting May 7th, gambling websites operating inside the country must perform identity checks before players can make a deposit into their account.
This move came after reports that gaming sites were withholding player’s money by requiring additional identity verifications. Players had the ability to make bets before verification of their age and identity. Once they attempted to withdraw their cash, the websites would demand further verification.
It was a standard practice that cost many players thousands of dollars in revenue. Hope is high that the new measures will better protect players in the UK. This week, a new set of restrictions have come to gambling companies operating here, albeit in a different way.
Gambling companies are well-known to advertise heavily inside the UK. These ads appear on television regularly and make up a significant portion of many companies’ annual budget. In December of last year, the UK government mandated that gambling companies stop advertising during live sporting events. The goal was to prevent the rise of problem gamblers.
This week, a new set UK gambling ad restrictions were announced. Online gaming operators here must now cease any marketing activities toward people appearing to be under the age of 18. These companies must ensure they don’t advertise toward websites that cater to anyone under the legal gambling age.
These restrictions also apply to social media. Social media influencers whose audience is greater than 25% of people under the age of 18 cannot promote gambling companies. These companies cannot hire influencers on social media who appear under the age of 25, as well.
The most recent updates to the UK’s gambling advertising laws are intended to prevent children from gambling. A 2018 report from the UK Gambling Commission states that 39% of polled 11-16-year-olds had spent money gambling over a 12-month period. It’s a troubling statistic for a company focused on lowering their gambling addiction problem.
The real question here remains over how effective the ban will be. A social media ban toward under-18’s should be simple enough for these companies. Most social media platforms make it easy to target people in specific demographics.
Gambling companies will need to work on removing their advertisements on websites with significant under-18 traffic.
The Committees of Advertising Practice has made it very clear that they don’t want children targeted by gambling ads.
“Our new standards respond to the latest evidence and lessons from ASA rulings, and require that greater care is taken in the placement and content of gambling ads to ensure they are not inadvertently targeted at under 18s,” they said in an official statement.
The new UK gambling ad restrictions will take effect at the end of April of 2019.
Do you think these new laws will help prevent children from gambling in the UK? Will it hurt gambling companies in their marketing efforts? Let us know what you think in the comment section below.
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