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B/CAP help note on gambling

CAP and BCAP have today published a new help note which clarifies the rules on gambling advertising.


The rules themselves have not been changed. The note emphasises that the key purpose of the rules is to protect the vulnerable. Hence, the explanation that a breach of the more specific rules on gambling will also often involve a breach of the social responsibility rules. Children, in particular, need to be protected and the guidance reiterates that gambling ads must not appeal particularly to children or young persons. So, an ad featuring a character that particularly appeals to children is likely to fall foul of the rules and cartoons or licensed characters, such as super heroes and celebrities popular with children, must be used responsibly.

The note also points out that the ASA has received an increasing number of complaints from consumers about “free bet” ads and so clarifies the position on those types of offer. Terms and conditions about the “free bet” offer and the commitment that consumers have to make in order to take advantage of it should generally be stated in the ad itself. Where the ad is limited by time or space (for example a banner ad), significant conditions likely to affect a consumer's decision to participate in the promotion should be displayed no further than one click away from the ad itself.

CAP have explained that the Gambling (Licensing & Advertising) Bill, which is currently going through Parliament, will change the way remote gambling operators are licensed, and this led CAP to consider the rules on gambling. As explained in the IPA’s Legal Alert when the Bill was first published, the Bill proposes to amend the Gambling Act 2005 to extend the category of remote gambling operators who will need a licence from the Gambling Commission. An operator will need a licence if their gambling “facilities” are used in Great Britain (even if no equipment is located here) and the operator knows, or should know, that the facilities are being used or are likely to be used in Great Britain. For example, an overseas-based operator who makes remote gambling facilities available on the internet will need to obtain a licence if their website is used in Great Britain and the operator knows, or should know, that the facilities are being used or are likely to be used in Great Britain. If the overseas operator wants to avoid having to obtain a licence, they will need to prevent consumers using their website here.

Read the guidance note.

Says Richard Lindsay, Legal Director, IPA, "With the increase in online gambling and in consumer complaints about “free bet” offers, it is useful to have clearer guidance to help advertisers interpret the rules. Clearly, gambling operators need to ensure that the vulnerable, and children in particular, are protected, and the rules provide helpful advice on how to advertise sensibly and responsibly."


If you have any questions concerning this, please contact the legal team on

Last updated 31/01/2014

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