The gambling industry in the UK is preparing for the upcoming reforms that will come soon with the white paper on the Gambling Act review. Meanwhile, the gambling sector is continuing to take steps to provide better protection for British players and bettors. Last week, the CEO of the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC), Andrew Rhodes, gave a speech at the Westminster Media Forum Gambling Regulation Conference. During his speech, Rhodes noted that despite the delay of the white paper, the gambling industry in the UK must continue to be properly regulated.
Gambling operators in the UK were warned by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) that a large portion of their marketing must be carried out by abiding by the rules of the organisation. Meanwhile, it was revealed that gambling logos were present in more than half of the children’s soccer programmes in the UK.
UKGC CEO Ensures Gambling Regulations in the UK Must Continue Despite White Paper Delay
Last week, on Monday, Andre Rhodes held a speech at the Westminster Media Forum Gambling Regulation Conference. The UKGC CEO started his speech by acknowledging the increasing gambling industry in the UK, as well as globally, with four of the biggest British gambling firms having also a global impact.
Rhodes noted that while the Covid-19 pandemic is still not gone, the ease of restrictive measures has put the beginning of the recovery for the land-based gambling industry in the UK. Meanwhile, there has been a slight drawback in online gambling activity in the recent few months.
According to recent studies, the Real Event Betting GGY at brick-and-mortar gambling venues surged over 40% when compared to the results from March 2022. Meanwhile, with online gambling, there has been a certain decline, with the length of slot sessions dropping down to an average of 18 minutes compared to the results of 2020/2021 when the average length was 21 minutes.
The UKGC CEO also shared another data, revealing that the overall gambling participation was 43% for March 2022, indicating a 3% surge from March 2021 but was still a 4% decline when compared to the data from March 2020. Rhodes noted that these figures show the further integration of gambling in entertainment areas, making gambling services widely accessible.
Rhodes shared that the UKGC was concerned about the risks that may arise from associating things like loot boxes in video games, NFTs, and crypto with gambling. While the gamblification of such sectors may bring gambling companies huge profits, this could be very harmful to recreational players.
The head of the Gambling Commission also touched upon the topic of creating the Participation and Prevalence Methodology Pilot and the results of the launch of the initial version. Rhodes shared that the regulatory body makes sure to collect data in the most rigorous way possible and make the best use of the results they come across. In his speech, Rhodes also spoke about better regulation of the gambling industry and the measures taken to keep operators responsible for their actions.
Despite the delay in the publishing of the White Paper on Gambling Act Review, the UKCG will continue to work towards better regulation of the gambling industry, keeping UK gambling regulators in check.
ASA Warns Operators about Following Its Rules on Content Marketing, Gambling Logos Seen on More than Half of UK Children Football Clubs
Recently, a question has been raised about whether the ASA rules on content marketing apply to the social media marketing of gambling companies. The ASA explained that while such content does not promote any particular brand, it does encourage people to give products and services offered by gambling companies a try.
Such content is a tad challenging to regulate by the ASA as the body is responsible for regulating advertising but editorial content does not fall under its remit. According to the ASA, gambling companies are using tools like memes, commentary and opinions on recent sporting events, as well as other types of tools defined as content marketing. This approach is used to promote the services of a gambling company rather than the operator.
While the ASA acknowledged there might be some exceptions, the vast majority of the content marketing used by gambling operators also falls under the remit of the ASA and its rules. However, if there are no direct references to gambling services, such marketing is not required to abide by the rules imposed by the ASA.
In the meantime, a recent study revealed that more than half of the children’s football club programmes in the UK could be seen sporting some items with gambling logos. Even though sporting clubs have taken some additional measures to decrease the ad exposure in programmes, the exposure via gambling logos has surged. It was revealed that gambling marketing content was in fact more common than safer gambling messages or alcohol marketing.
Such data comes just as the White Paper on gambling reforms is about to be published soon. It is speculated that the new reforms will include a serious clampdown on gambling advertising by sporting clubs in the UK.