The United Kingdom has some of the strictest online gambling regulations in the world. Not long ago, a new set of UK gambling ad laws were officially established by the country’s Gambling Authority. At least five companies are breaking these laws, according to news reports.
Many are now speculating how the government will respond. Let’s take a closer look into these laws, and the likelihood of them soon becoming even more strict.
Recent Changes to UK Gambling Ad Laws
The United Kingdom is home to the biggest and most profitable online gambling market in the world. Nearly all of the top online gambling companies are based here. For years, the Gambling Commission here has gradually increased regulations on the industry to better protect players and increase revenue.
The initial set of laws came all the way back in 2005. This allowed the government to officially license and tax online gambling operators inside the country. Not long ago, the government began stepping up regulations on gambling marketing activities.
In mid-February, the Gambling Commission here announced a fresh set of new UK gambling ad laws. They now state that companies are completely banned from advertising towards anyone appearing to be under the age of 18. Any websites that cater primarily to children cannot be targeted with gambling advertisements.
Marketing with social media is difficult now, as well. Companies can no longer hire social media influencers with a large number of followers under the age of 18. These are some of the strictest laws to ever hit online gambling companies. New reports show that not every company is choosing to abide by them.
Five Companies Caught Advertising to Children in the UK
Many questioned exactly how the government here would actually enforce these laws. Now, it’s coming to light. Reports are surfacing that five separate companies have been caught illegally targeting children with gambling ads.
The UK’s Advertising Standards Authority performed a “sting operation” in order to crack down on these banned forms of marketing. Using ‘avatars,’ they browsed through the web posing as children. Over a two-week period, they discovered that a number of companies provided gambling ads directly on children’s websites.
Interestingly, a number of the top UK online gambling sites were involved. Unibet, owned by the Kindred Group, is one of these companies. This group maintains that it was a mistake they were unaware of.
“The advert was served by a third party without the control or knowledge of Kindred/Unibet and in breach of the contractual terms in place,”
said Alexander Westrell, head of communications for Kindred. Many analysts are now wondering what steps the UK Gambling Commission will take to avoid this problem in the future.
Will the UK’s Online Gambling Laws Become Ever Stricter?
As we already mentioned, lawmakers in the country are working hard to cut down on gambling addiction rates. Not long ago, the government even considered an outright ban on credit cards for gambling.
It’s very possible that UK gambling ad laws may increase even more. An entire ban on all forms of marketing is possible. This is daunting to online gambling companies, who spend the majority of their revenue directly into advertising.
It’s more likely that the Gambling Commission will punish the companies caught targeting children with ads. This group may decide to make an example out of these online gambling groups. Whether or not that means the revocation of their UK gaming licenses remains to be seen.
Are laws here are about to get stricter? Could new laws affect players? Let us know what you think in the comment section below!
A longtime sports and gambling enthusiast, Kevin looks to present up-to-date and reliable information for readers. If he’s not writing, he’s probably watching MMA or playing blackjack. ...
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