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Gambling: Advertising

Question for Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport

UIN 94537, tabled on 16 December 2021

To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what plans the Government has to regulate gambling advertising on (a) television, (b) online and (c) sports shirt sponsorship.

Answered on

5 January 2022

All gambling advertising, wherever it appears, is already subject to strict controls on content and placement. Gambling operators and their affiliates must abide by the advertising codes issued by the Broadcast Committee of Advertising Practice (BCAP) and the Committees of Advertising Practice (CAP). Breaches of the code can result in the Gambling Commission taking enforcement action. The CAP has recently consulted on strengthening the advertising codes for gambling for the greater protection of children and vulnerable adults. New measures to protect vulnerable adults are already in force and a full consultation outcome, including new protections for children, is expected shortly.

In addition, the gambling industry has its own gambling advertising code – The Gambling Industry Code for Socially Responsible Advertising which includes additional requirements, for example, a 9pm television advertising watershed for most forms of gambling and ensuring advertising is targeted only at those over 25 years old on social media.

As with advertising, sponsorship arrangements must be socially responsible and must never be targeted at children. If a gambling sponsorship is socially irresponsible or otherwise violates licence conditions, the Gambling Commission can take action against both the operator and the partner organisation.

The Government is reviewing the Gambling Act 2005 to ensure it remains fit for the digital age. As part of its broad scope, the review called for evidence on the benefits or harms of allowing operators to advertise and engage in sponsorship arrangements. We are considering the evidence carefully and will publish a White Paper outlining conclusions and next steps in due course. We are also looking more broadly at how online advertising is regulated through the Online Advertising Programme, which will be launching a public consultation in the coming months.

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