BGC debuts rules to curb gambling social media posts by football clubs

The Betting and Gaming Council has drafted a new set of rules which are aimed at preventing football clubs from using their official social media accounts to promote gambling offers. 

Amid much pressure surrounding the issue of such advertisement being placed through the social media channels of football clubs, the BGC cites a concern that “children may be exposed to betting adverts on social media platforms”.

The move also comes as particular questions become increasingly raised surrounding gambling adverts posted by clubs on their official Twitter accounts.

Under the new BGC code of conduct, calls to action or links to gambling websites would not be allowed on organic tweets on the social media feeds of football clubs, with bans also applying to any display of direct bonuses or odds which cannot be solely targeted at over-18s.

The BGC has written to the Premier League and English Football League highlighting the guidelines so that they can make clubs aware and encourage them to apply the rules for non-BGC members.

Furthermore, communication has also been sent to Twitter and Facebook calling on them to introduce age-gating for all social media accounts to ensure that organic posts which include gambling adverts can only be seen by over-18s.

Brigid Simmonds OBE, chairman of the BGC, explained: “Football clubs are an important part of the sporting fabric of this country, followed by millions of all ages on social media.

“Our members rightly have a zero tolerance approach to gambling by under-18s, so as an industry we are understandably concerned that children may be exposed to betting adverts on social media platforms.

“Our new guidelines make clear the standards expected of football clubs when they post gambling promotions on social media, and I look forward to them being put into practice as soon as possible.”

Last August, the BGC published the Sixth Industry Code for Socially Responsible Advertising, which stipulates that members must ensure all sponsored or paid for social media adverts are targeted at those aged 25 and over, unless the website can prove its adverts can be precisely targeted at over-18s.

It also includes a requirement that gambling ads appearing on search engines must make clear that they are for those aged 18-plus, while the adverts themselves must include safer gambling messages.