British gambling industry leads the way in ad compliance

Online and land-based gambling companies in the UK have demonstrated a higher level of advertising compliance than any other industry sector, according to a leading voice in European marketing regulation.

A survey conducted by the European Advertising Standards Alliance in the wake of the UK Gambling Act, which was implemented in September 2007, analyzed gambling adverts in the national press, consumer magazines, posters, direct mailings, internet, television and radio.

Speaking at the BetMarkets sports betting conference in Vienna earlier this week, Laure Alexandre, project and compliance officer for the Brussels-based EASA, said the compliance rate was 99 per cent. „The compliance survey was very encouraging,“ Alexandre said. „Out of 784 advertisements, only seven seemed to breach the code. To my knowledge, this is the highest compliance rate we have found in a specific sector.“

Following the implementation of the Gambling Act, all types of gambling advertising are now regulated under one law. However, while the law has provided gambling companies a generally larger degree of advertising freedom, they must still adhere to a strict code of conduct.

Gambling adverts must not imply that solitary gambling is preferable to social gambling; they must not exploit cultural beliefs or traditions about gambling or luck; and advertisements must not link gambling to seduction, sexual success of enhanced attractiveness. In addition, no gambling advert may be scheduled or placed in or around media directed at under 18s.

„The results were extremely encouraging, suggesting that marketers have heeded the new code changes,“ Alexandre continued. „The ball has been thrown at the industry, and it is therefore up to individual companies to toe the line responsibly and make sure they don’t provide regulators with further reasons to legislate.“

„The behavior of one can affect the entire industry. We have seen it with other sectors, so it could easily happen here too. So don’t risk it,“ she concluded.