In the United Kingdom, the Committees of Advertising Practice is reportedly soon set to institute new regulations that will change the way online casino and sportsbetting operators are permitted to promote special offers on their sites.

According to a Wednesday report from the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), the watchdog, which is responsible for formulating all of the nation’s advertising rules, revealed that its updated regulations are due to come into force from April 2 as a way to help protect gamblers that may be ‘vulnerable’.

The BBC reported that the announcement of the new rules comes in the wake of this week’s decision by the Gambling Commission regulator to levy a $488,600 fine against ElectraWorks Limited after seven of the prominent online casino operator’s websites were found to have breached existing rules on the promotion of ‘free bonuses’.

The broadcaster reported that the fresh regulations are set to include an outright ban on the phrase ‘bet now’ while also instituting stricter restrictions on the advertising of special offers for all United Kingdom-licensed online casinos and sportsbetting sites during live events such as football matches. The Committees of Advertising Practice purportedly explained that it moreover intends to limit adverts that promote repetitive play or recklessly suggest ‘risk-free’ deposits.

The BBC reported that the updated rules are to be utilized by the Advertising Standards Authority when considering complaints or levying fines and will additionally place further restrictions on adverts that prey on players’ self-esteem or financial concerns.

The Daily Telegraph newspaper reported that the new regulations from the Committees of Advertising Practice are to furthermore make clear that any advertised ‘money-back’ promotion must be for cash rather than a bonus while all ‘risk-free’ offers must explicitly involve the consumer incurring no financial loss.

In addition, the newspaper reported that the updated rules will stipulate that all ‘matched bets’ offers should treat stake limitations as a significant condition that is advertised upfront.

However, the biggest change is reportedly set to involve the advertising of ‘free bets’ as the Committees of Advertising Practice is to immediately enforce a provision that will require all licensed online casino and sportsbetting operators to prominently list these offers’ specific terms and conditions. As an example, The Daily Telegraph used a current advert from bookmaker Ladbrokes that purportedly promises all new online players an ‘up to £50 free bet’ although a spokesperson for the watchdog told the newspaper that this offer does not make clear that this is a ‘matched bet’.

“We won’t tolerate gambling ads that exploit people’s vulnerabilities or play fast and loose with eye-catching free bet and bonus offers,” reportedly read a statement from Shahriar Coupal, Director for the Committees of Advertising Practice. “Our new guidance takes account of the best available evidence to strengthen the protections already in place, ensuring that gambling is presented responsibly, minimizing the potential for harm.”

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