BGC announces new measures to fight illegal online advertising

The Betting and Gaming Council (BGC) has unveiled tough new measures to further prevent under-18s from seeing online gambling adverts.

In what will be its Sixth Industry Code for Socially Responsible Advertising, the standards body announced that from 1 October, every BGC member will have to ensure that all sponsored or paid for social media ads must be targeted at consumers aged 25 and over, unless the website is able to prove its ads are specifically targeted at over 18s.

This comes a day after the Advertising Standards Authority found that four casino operators breached age-restricted rules in 70 betting ads during a three month monitoring sweep.

“We are committed to driving up standards within the betting and gaming industry. The latest edition of [the Industry Code] is further evidence of our determination to ensure standards are rising as technology continues to evolve,” said BGC CEO Michael Dugher.

“BGC members have a zero tolerance attitude to under-18s betting, and from requirements for safer gambling messages to restrictions on YouTube advertising, this new code shows how seriously the BGC, who represent regulated betting but not the National Lottery, take our responsibilities.”

In addition to specifically targeting ads at 25s and over, the new code stipulates that any gambling ads featured on search engines must make clear that they are for individuals aged 18 and over. YouTube users will also have to verify their age before viewing gambling ads.

Dugher added: “It is vital that the big internet platforms honour their responsibilities to protect people online and we hope the Government will use its forthcoming Online Harms Bill to that effect.”

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