BGC unveils measures to combat online advertisement concerns

The Betting and Gaming Council has revealed a raft of new measures aimed at preventing under-18’s from seeing gambling adverts online.

Coming a day after the Advertising Standards Authority found that 70 betting adverts breached age-restricted rules during a three month monitoring sweep, the latest BGC crackdown came upon publishing of the ‘Sixth Industry Code for Socially Responsible Advertising’.

The new code, which will come into force on October 1, states that BGC members must ensure that all sponsored or paid for social media adverts be targeted at consumers aged 25 and over, unless the site can prove its ads can be precisely targeted at over 18s.

“As the new standards body for the regulated sector, we are committed to driving up standards within the betting and gaming industry,” noted Michael Dugher, chief executive of the BGC

“We have made excellent progress in recent times and the Industry Code for Socially Responsible Advertising is updated as technology evolves. The latest edition is further evidence of our determination to continue to ensure that standards are rising and are as high as they can possibly be.”

The new code also includes a requirement that gambling ads appearing on search engines must make clear that they are for those aged 18 and over, as well as a mandatory requirement to include safer gambling messages.

YouTube users will also have to use age-verified accounts before they can view gambling ads, guaranteeing that they cannot be seen by under-18s, while members will have to post frequent responsible gambling messages via their Twitter accounts.

“BGC members have a zero tolerance attitude to under-18s betting, and from requirements for safer gambling messages to restrictions on YouTube advertising, this new code shows how seriously the BGC, who represent regulated betting but not the National Lottery, take our responsibilities,” Dugher continued. 

“At the same time, we urge the government to work with us to crack down on black market operators who have no interest in safer gambling or protecting their customers and do not work to the same responsible standards as BGC members.

 “It is vital that the big internet platforms honour their responsibilities to protect people online and we hope the government will use its forthcoming Online Harms Bill to that effect. The Review of the Gambling Act will also provide further opportunities to improve standards and we look forward to working with the government on this”.