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Gambling Ads: New Scheduling Rules

11th January 2016

Gambling advertising on TV continues to be one of the most contentious sectors, and as such comes with a host of regulations. As well as the having to follow the BCAP code and its specific gambling section, the gambling industry also has its own code. Last year the Industry Group Responsible for Gambling (IGRG) announced a number of amendments to their code, which will be coming into play on the 20th February.


The most important change for TV ads is that sign-up offers for new customers will no longer be allowed pre-watershed. The last IGRG code required all gambling ads to be scheduled after the 9pm watershed, with the exception of bingo and sports betting ads shown around televised sporting events. This latest change means that these kinds of ads will also be restricted to post 9pm if they include a sign-up offer. This could be something like “Free bet for new players” or “Money back for new players if your horse loses.”


There are other changes as well, many of which are already standard practice for the majority of advertisers:


  • All broadcast ads (both TV and radio) should end with a socially responsible gambling message
  • Pre-watershed television advertising cannot make reference to other gambling products that would not normally qualify for pre-9pm exemption
  • The Gambleaware website should be given greater prominence
  • ‘18+’ or similar must appear clearly in both TV and print ads


There are also a number of requirements focused on social media marketing messages.


What Now?


Due to the fact that this is a change to the industry’s code rather than the BCAP code, and the sheer volume of ads we deal with, we will not be rescinding approval or changing restrictions of gambling ads we have approved in the past. We will expect ads submitted to air from the 20th Feb onwards to meet these requirements. A failure to comply with the industry’s code will not be a reason for Clearcast to reject an ad but, in agreement with our broadcasters, we will be working with agencies to assist with compliance and will advising broadcasters which ads should be scheduled after 9.00pm.


If you found this helpful, you may also be interested in our Advanced training course, which covers the most contentious areas of the BCAP code. As ever, follow us on Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn for the latest updates.