Those who work within the gambling industry are used to seeing plenty of changes when it comes to rules and regulations – and the advertising of gambling services is no different. 2021 saw some high profile changes to the way online gambling platforms could operate and it seems 2022 is going to be when gambling advertising gets an overhaul. Namely, the use of well-known figures and celebrities in gambling adverts is set to be banned.
The Use of Celebrities in Advertising
We’re all used to seeing well-known faces appear in adverts and tell us about the new amazing product or service that they’re recommending to us. However, this isn’t anything new – in fact, Wedgwood Pottery started using Royal Endorsements to promote their services as far back as the 1700s.
The main change we have seen when it comes to celebrities in advertising is the type of celebrities that we see. For example, in the 1960s adverts would have heavily featured musicians and bands whereas nowadays we are probably more likely to see social media influencers or reality TV stars. However, whatever niche they’re from and however they made their name the aim is the same – to promote whatever product they’re advertising.
The Use of Celebrities Today
When we consider advertising our first thoughts tend to gravitate towards radio, TV and even print, but the truth is that over recent years the advertising of products has expanded massively. Nowadays we’re likely to see much more subtle advertising – an influencer sharing a video on TikTok or a few snaps on Instagram for example. The Advertising Standards Agency have needed to make some changes to their legislation, to ensure that all advertising across whatever platform meets the rules – and it seems the latest change is going to be surrounding celebrity endorsements and gambling.
Although there are still plenty of details that need to be confirmed, it seems that the UK government is set to ban the involvement of celebrities in advertising gambling services – including film stars, sports figures, reality TV stars and social media influencers. The type of services this will affect is yet to be announced, so the industry is waiting with bated breath to see how strict the ban will be.
It’s unclear what the impact of the proposed ban will be on the best online casinos but one thing for sure is that there will likely need to be some changes made. We do know that this will end partnerships between sports betting companies, online casinos and even places with land-based slot machines and celebrities that have previously been used to promote them.
What Professionals Have To Say
As you can imagine, a change like this has evoked a mixed response with the Government insisting the change is to ensure that everyone is kept as safe as possible. Michael Dugher, chief executive of the Betting and Gaming Council (BGC) said the changes built on industry-led measures designed to “drive up standards and ensure further protections in advertising”. Shahriar Coupal, Director of CAP, says that “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.”
However, there are some that feel the ban which comes into play from October isn’t going to be enough. Lord Don Foster, Chairman of Peers for Gambling Reform, worries that it won’t stop gambling advertising sponsoring sporting teams, and therefore still being subtly promoted to young audiences. Of course, those that have previously been paid to promote varying gambling services may have very different opinions.
As you may expect there are already rules surrounding the advertising of gambling services, especially when those adverts could be seen by those under the age of 18. However, the current rules in place have plenty of grey areas which means that many brands push things right to the edge when it comes to advertising – there is every chance that when it comes to celebrity adverts, things will be the same. For example, if you’re the brother of a superstar, are you a celebrity or could you be well known enough to advertise something but not strictly be considered celebrity status – there are going to be plenty of grey areas and marketing companies are probably already trying to work out where they can push their luck without breaking the rules.
Currently, the Advertising Standards Agency doesn’t cover things like sports team sponsorship even if that involves companies being advertised on the pitch or on sports kits which means that this form of advertising currently remains unchanged. However, with stricter rules coming into play surrounding gambling adverts in general this is something that could very well change in the future.
The Future of Celebrity Advertising
Over recent years we have already seen a number of changes to the rules that the Advertising Standards Association have in place. As the trend for social media influencers to be paid or even gifted items in exchange for promoting them grew, so did the need for firm rules that ensured everyone played by the same rules. There have been some high profile cases where celebrities have been fined for not declaring adverts on social media in the right way. Although it is hoped that the rules about celebrities advertising gambling services will be much clearer there will definitely be some that try to push their luck – after all, where do you draw the line of someone being well known enough to class as a celebrity?
Shahriar Coupal, the director of the Committee of Advertising Practice, said: “No more top-flight footballers or other high-profile sportspeople promoting the latest odds. No more social media influencers, TV stars or other celebrities popular with children inviting us to bet on red and, no more gambling ads featuring video game images or gameplay familiar to many children’s lives.”
There are definitely more changes to come, as the way we use gambling services and the way we are exposed to adverts changes so will the rules surrounding these, as the UK Government, the UK Gambling Commission and the Advertising Standards Agency do everything they can to ensure that rules keep up with current trends.