Gambling advertising: Review of the ASA’s application of the UK advertising codes

Abstract

The Gambling Act 2005 (‘the Act’) relaxed legal controls that had previously prohibited bricks and mortar gambling advertisers from advertising across media, including TV. The Act recognised gambling as a legitimate leisure activity, but one that needed to be effectively regulated to protect against risks of personal and social harm, for example through excessive or underage play. New gambling rules were added to the UK Advertising Codes, administered by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), to control the content and placement of ads. Importantly the rules required social responsibility in ads, such as by ensuring they don’t encourage gambling in ways that might harm or exploit children, young people or vulnerable adults. The deregulation under the Act has meant that since 2007 there has naturally been an increase in the number of ads appearing. In line with the ASA’s ambition to ensure that every UK ad is a responsible ad, we agreed with the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) that it was timely to review how we’re applying the UK Advertising Codes to gambling advertising.

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