UK Betting and Gaming Council is campaigning for safer marketing through Social Media collaboration

12.06.2023

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Carl Hughes Betting Expert

Updated:June 12, 2023

The UK Betting and Gaming Council is pushing for better controls of betting and gaming advertising on Social Media. In an open letter to the UK Culture Secretary Lucy Frazer MP, the Council’s Chief Executive Michael Dugher has pointed out that the organisation has identified issues with the way adverts are targeted, and has proposed solutions in order to protect vulnerable people. The Council believes that Social Media companies are not doing enough to limit the audience of the adverts, which results in young people and those at risk of harm being shown content about betting sites.

As the members of the Betting and Gaming Council, which includes the majority of licenced UK betting sites, do more and more to limit any potential risk of gambling harm, the Council is looking for greater partnership and collaboration with Social Media websites and apps in order to protect young people and vulnerable bettors. The Council has urged Social Media companies to do their part in order to eliminate any potential for gambling harm. The Council has proposed a series of measures which will aim to limit the advertising materials about betting sites shown to young people and those at risk.

The letter from Dugher to the Culture Secretary reads:

“This is impossible to achieve without the cooperation of the social media platforms themselves. This is a sensible solution, which BGC members are keen on implementing, but we cannot do so without the cooperation of social media platforms. I would urge you to help on this matter by calling on social media platforms to finally cooperate with the BGC and make the relevant functionality available, so we can help protect the most vulnerable.”

According to the Betting and Gaming Council, some of the campaigns undertaken by the organisation and its member betting sites have yielded excellent results. At the end of February 2023, the Council reported that problem gambling in UK adults has decreased to 0.2%, down from 0.3% in the previous year. While this is a very low figure, leading betting sites in the UK continue to work towards ensuring that the betting industry is enjoyed in a safe and responsible manner by all. Some of the most dedicated gambling companies include Flutter Entertainment (owner of Paddy Power, Sky Bet, and Betfair) and Kindred Group which owns Unibet and 32Red. In fact, Kindred Group has made a corporate commitment to reduce the revenue its betting sites receives from harmful gambling to 0% by the end of 2023. Kindred has been working hard on its “ZERO % MISSION” initiative to educate bettors on the different tools and resources they can use to protect themselves from gambling harm, what risk behaviours to look out for, and where to go for support and help if they need it.

The Betting and Gaming council idea of limiting betting ads shown to certain age groups has the potential to work, however it requires a good level of co-operation from the Social Media platforms. The individual betting sites have already taken steps to try and make sure that their ads do not show to those who are too young to gamble legally. The problem is that a number of unregulated or unlicensed betting providers will not be concerned with the risk of gambling harm and will push their products anywhere they could make a profit.

Now that the issue has been brought to the attention of the Culture Secretary, the Government is likely to recognise the potential of the proposed measures and become involved. The Government has a good track record of driving a positive change in the industry so far this year. For example, after the relevant departments mounted the pressure on football clubs in the English Premier League to amend advertising rules voluntarily or risk having new stringent laws introduced, the Premier League teams unanimously agreed to stop featuring betting sites on the front of their match-day shirts.

The past few weeks have also seen the Betting and Gaming Council introduce a new code of conduct for their member betting sites in the UK. As part of the code, football clubs will not be using their Social Media accounts for direct betting and gaming marketing and the publication of odds or betting products. This is because football content is very popular amongst young people on social media, and some may be tempted to try and circumvent the various triggers and controls put in place that prevent underage bettors from gambling. The work of the Council has been hailed by many of its members who have committed to increasing their safer gambling social responsibility measures in order to continue the positive change in the industry.

About the author

Carl Hughes

Editor

Carl Hughes

Editor

Carl Hughes is a leading expert on sports and casino betting. Carl began his career with a BSc in Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences from the University of Birmingham before working within the industry for some of the bigger names (GVC and Bet365) and has been praised as being "a leading sports betting commentator".