The Betting and Gaming Council (BGC) has announced significant updates to its Seventh Industry Code for Socially Responsible Advertising (IGRG code). Effective from December 1, 2023, the new rules mandate that 20% of all advertising across TV, radio, and digital channels must focus on promoting safer gambling practices.
The New Rules in Detail
The BGC’s updated IGRG code includes a requirement for operators to allocate at least 20% of their advertising content to promote safer gambling. This applies to TV, radio, and, notably, digital media platforms. The changes aim to protect vulnerable individuals and tackle problem gambling.
- 20% of all advertising must focus on safer gambling.
- The rules extend to digital media platforms.
- Effective date: December 1, 2023.
How Operators Are Preparing
Operators are already taking steps to comply with the new regulations. These include revising advertising content, consulting with legal teams, and adjusting budgets to accommodate the focus on responsible gambling.
Preparatory measures taken by the operators are the following:
- Content Revision: Operators are likely revising their advertising content to ensure that at least 20% focuses on promoting safer gambling practices. This could involve creating new ads or modifying existing ones.
- Platform Analysis: Given that the new rules extend to digital media, operators are probably analyzing which platforms are most effective for delivering safer gambling messages. This could include social media, streaming services, and online banners.
- Legal and Compliance Checks: Operators are likely consulting with legal and compliance teams to ensure that the new ads meet all regulatory requirements, including those set by the BGC, ASA, and UKGC.
- Budget Adjustments: Allocating 20% of advertising to safer gambling messages could require budget adjustments, especially for operators who previously did not focus as much on responsible gambling in their advertising.
- Pilot Testing: Some operators may choose to pilot test the new advertising content to gauge its effectiveness and make any necessary adjustments before the rules come into effect.
Regulatory Collaboration: A Multi-Layered Approach
The BGC’s self-regulation is complemented by official bodies like the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) and the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC). This multi-layered approach aims to ensure comprehensive oversight and increased accountability among operators.
Regulatory Bodies Involved
- Betting and Gaming Council (BGC)
- Advertising Standards Authority (ASA)
- UK Gambling Commission (UKGC)
The multi-layered approach involving the Betting and Gaming Council (BGC), the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), and the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) creates a robust framework for regulating advertising standards in the gambling industry. Each organization brings its own set of expertise, oversight mechanisms, and enforcement capabilities to the table, which can contribute to the effectiveness of the new advertising standards in several ways:
- Comprehensive Oversight. While the BGC focuses on self-regulation and industry best practices, the ASA and UKGC provide external oversight. This ensures that advertising standards are not just industry-driven but are also aligned with broader social and legal expectations.
- Consistency and Uniformity. The involvement of multiple bodies can lead to more consistent and uniform standards. For instance, the BGC’s guidelines can be cross-referenced with the ASA’s general advertising standards and the UKGC’s licensing conditions, ensuring that there are no gaps or contradictions in the rules.
- Enhanced Accountability. The UKGC has the authority to revoke licenses and impose fines, while the ASA can refer non-compliant advertisers to the UKGC. The BGC, on the other hand, can exert peer pressure and offer industry-specific insights. This multi-pronged approach enhances accountability among operators.
- Data Sharing and Analysis. Collaboration between these bodies can facilitate the sharing of data and insights, which can be used to assess the effectiveness of advertising standards and make data-driven adjustments.
- Public Trust. A multi-layered approach that includes self-regulation by the industry and oversight by governmental bodies can also contribute to increased public trust in the advertising standards and the gambling industry as a whole.
Implications for Advertising Strategies
The new rules are expected to diversify advertising messages, increase scrutiny from regulatory bodies, and possibly enhance the brand image of operators who effectively incorporate responsible gambling messages.
Expected Changes in Strategies
- Message Diversification
- Target Audience Focus
- New Performance Metrics
- Increased Scrutiny
- Brand Image Enhancement
Expected Impact on Advertising Strategies
- Message Diversification: Operators will need to diversify their advertising messages to include a significant focus on responsible gambling, which could make their overall advertising strategy more nuanced.
- Target Audience: The new rules aim to prevent under-18s from viewing betting ads online, which may lead operators to be more selective in choosing platforms and times for their advertisements.
- Performance Metrics: The focus on responsible gambling could lead to new performance metrics, such as engagement rates with responsible gambling messages, being incorporated into advertising strategies.
- Increased Scrutiny: With the new rules in place, operators can expect increased scrutiny from regulatory bodies, making compliance a key aspect of their advertising strategies.
- Brand Image: Operators who effectively incorporate responsible gambling messages could enhance their brand image, positioning themselves as socially responsible businesses.
The BGC’s new advertising rules represent a significant shift in how the gambling industry approaches advertising. With a focus on social responsibility and compliance, operators are gearing up for changes that could redefine industry standards and best practices. The upcoming changes are prompting operators to rethink and restructure their advertising strategies, with a focus on compliance and social responsibility. The preparatory period leading up to December 1, 2023, will be crucial for operators to align their advertising practices with the new standards.