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Footballers Banned From UK Gambling Ads Under Tougher Rules

April 5, 2022
Leading footballers will be banned from marketing gambling products under new rules designed to curb their appeal to young people, a UK advertising body has announced.

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Leading footballers will be banned from marketing gambling products under new rules designed to curb their appeal to young people, a UK advertising body has announced.

The Committee for Advertising Practice (CAP) has revealed the tough new restrictions, which capture all top-flight footballers because of their large followings on social media. Others banned from taking part in gambling marketing could include actors, celebrities and reality TV stars.

It comes as the organisation, which is responsible for the UK advertising and marketing code, works towards its commitment to safeguarding young people and vulnerable audiences.

Shahriar Coupal, director of the CAP, said: "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."

The CAP said the changes, which will come into effect on October 1, 2022, follow a consultation on tightening the rules launched in October 2020.

The new rules state that sports people, celebrities and social media influencers who are "likely to be of strong appeal to children or young persons, especially by reflecting or being associated with youth culture" will be banned from gambling and lottery adverts.

Although the interpretation of the rules remains to be confirmed, it could potentially hit high profile advertising partnerships, such as former Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho’s ads with Paddy Power and former players and current TV pundits Micah Richards and Roy Keane’s tie up with Sky Bet.

The CAP said this will include footballers with a large under-18 social media following and reality TV stars popular with the age group, like those on Love Island.

The rules will also ban adverts that use any imagery that may appeal to under-18s, including video game content and gameplay popular with youngsters, as well as a person or character whose example is likely to be followed by or have particular appeal to the age group.

Last November, other changes to the CAP responsibility and problem gambling guidance came into effect, which drew on insights from its research with charity GambleAware.

Those alterations meant gambling adverts could no longer emphasise the skill, knowledge or intelligence involved in betting, state or imply that offers are a way to reduce risk or present gambling as a way to be part of a community based on skill.

The rules already state that marketing communications for gambling must be socially responsible, with particular regard to the need to protect children, young persons and other vulnerable persons from being harmed or exploited.

In addition, they cannot include a child or a young person, while no-one who is, or seems to be, under 25 years old can usually be featured gambling or playing a significant role. No-one may behave in an adolescent, juvenile or loutish way.

Adverts are also banned from being likely to be of particular appeal to children or young persons, especially by reflecting or being associated with youth culture.

Last week, a group of 20 English football clubs wrote an open letter calling for a ban on all gambling advertising and sponsorships in the sport.

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