CAP announces strict new lottery ad rules as celebrities and sports stars banned

The Committee for Advertising Practice
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The Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP) has detailed its stringent set of new rules that effectively outlaws the use of sports stars and celebrities in gambling advertisements.

Introduced as part of its commitment to safeguarding young people and vulnerable audiences, the new directive will come into effect on October 1, 2022.

The rules are set to significantly impact how licenced operators devise marketing campaigns and who they are allowed to work with.

Under the new measures, gambling and lottery advertisements must not “be likely to be of strong appeal to children or young persons, especially by reflecting or being associated with youth culture”.

In particular, there is an emphasis on protecting under-18 audiences with a “step-change” of the current laws which merely state that advertisements must not be of “particular appeal” to children.

From October, imagery with features or references to high-profile sportspeople, reality TV stars and social media influencers will be prohibited, though the list is not exhaustive and extends to anyone with influence over under-18s.

Even former sports stars who still retain a “strong appeal” to under-18s could be banned from taking part in gambling advertisements.

CAP’s new advertising rules follow its response to GambleAware’s Final Synthesis Report: The impact of gambling marketing and advertising on children, young people and vulnerable adults.

Shahriar Coupal, Director of CAP, commented: ““The days of gambling ads featuring sports stars, video game imagery and other content of strong appeal to under-18s are numbered. By ending these practices, our new rules invite a new era for gambling ads, more particular to the adult audience they can target and more befitting of the age-restricted product they’re promoting.”

Questioned on how it intends to define a threshold for gambling adverts deemed to be targeting under-18s, CAP responded to SBC: “Extensive guidance accompanies the new rules to support marketers in their application of those rules.

“We expect advertisers to take a cautious approach when advertising gambling products. References to imagery or culture that specifically appeals to under-18s would be a problem under our new rules and could lead to ads being banned.

“Likewise, using popular figures such as top-flight footballers or reality stars would also be likely to be an issue. Advertisers can always get in touch with our Copy Advice team about their campaigns, for free advice about whether an ad might break our rules.”