British advertising watchdog asks public to report gambling ads with COVID-19 reference

ASA has warned operators not to take advantage of this “captive audience” as citizens may be facing financial hardship

UK’s Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) pledges swift action against iGaming companies that breach advertising rules as for example advertising their website as Corona free. The watchdog noticed that the nature and frequency of gambling ads was under particular scrutiny in the UK during the last two months. 

Advertising Standards Authority.

ASA explained the “‘Lockdown has created a ‘captive audience’,” and “Many people are anxious and uncertain about the future and a significant number face financial hardship. To some, gambling may even be seen as an escape from the situation they now find themselves in. Such vulnerabilities heighten risks associated with gambling.” 

Earlier ASA launched a reporting process to notify the regulator of Covid-19 related claims in ads, often for healthcare products, and warned that gambling was “no different”. But since there are still rogue gambling ads around, they encourage members of the public to report ads that refer to the pandemic or related matters, such as the government’s lockdown policy. Ads that

feature themes of particular concern during the current situation - such as those referring to relieving boredom, repeated play or personal problems - should also be reported, it said. 

The ASA added they will not hesitate to take firm action against irresponsible messaging in gambling ads and they will be monitoring industry advertising for a range of different issues in the context of the crisis. The Malta Gaming Authority (MGA) took similar precautions earlier on. Read more about it here.  

Guidance issued by the European Gaming and Betting Association, and backed by the Betting and Gaming Council (BGC) alongside a number of other country-specific operator bodies, also bans operators from referencing Covid-19 in their advertising. 

About SiGMA Expo:

In order to bring key players of global iGaming and emerging tech sectors together, SiGMA Group will host an online conference in partnership with ICE Asia, taking place on June 8-10th, 2020. Register for free here. SiGMA Manila will be now held on the 27th and 28th of May 2021. To become a part of the fastest paced Asian iGaming event, book a pass or sponsor & exhibit here. SiGMA Group will also bring together operators, suppliers, and affiliates, facilitating new business opportunities for both existing and emerging markets at their signature show happening in Malta on November 17-19th, 2020. Book a pass or sponsor and exhibit for SiGMA Malta now.

For those planning to attend the summits this is the buzzing business environment to be expected:

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