Influencers, celebrities and growing playing promoting restrictions
Are you considering using an influencer or a celebrity in your next gambling ad campaign? It’s not that easy anymore, especially in jurisdictions like Australia, the UK and Spain.
In Australia, gambling providers are subject to a wide range of codes, regulations and laws in order to lawfully promote their products and services. Laws and regulations exist at the federal, territorial and federal levels and include the Interactive Gambling Act 2001 (Cth), various state and territory laws and regulations, the Australian Association of National Advertisers Codes of Ethics (AANA), the AANA Advertising and Marketing Communications Code, various television, radio, and other codes of conduct (including those set by the licensing and regulatory authorities in each state and territory). In order to promote and promote gambling products and services in Australia, you must be in possession of a current license issued in accordance with the laws of the state and territory.
The guidelines for influencer social media advertising have recently been tightened in Australia since February 2021 to ensure that the relationship between an influencer and the brand they are promoting is expressed in a clear, obvious, open and easy-to-understand way for the audience. It’s a first for Australia and social media influencers are now required to at least disclose their advertising partnerships by using #ad or #Sponsored to reveal sponsored posts. This step follows the example of Great Britain and is intended to create more transparency and trust.
In the United Kingdom, the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) states that the use of third-party providers in gambling advertising is acceptable but expects unique identification. The UKGC requires that any influencer endorsement included in UK gambling ads be accompanied by a statement identifying the business relationship between the advertiser and the influencer, including whether they will be paid to endorse the gambling service. UK based advertisers are required to indicate whether the recommendation is an “Advertorial” or a “Sponsored Post”.
What about celebrity use in gambling advertising?
In the UK, new rules proposed by the agency responsible for establishing the relevant UK Advertising Code would potentially prohibit advertising in that jurisdiction if found to appeal to children, regardless of how adults perceive the advertisement. The Advertising Practice Committees (CAP) have launched a public consultation on the new measures.
The CAP advises, among other things, on proposals to tighten the rules in order to prevent the creative content of gambling and lottery advertising from being “strongly” appealing to under 18-year-olds (it is currently prohibited to address gambling advertisements, particularly to under-18s, with others In other words, they are forbidden from addressing under 18s more than adults). Details of the proposed bans include:
- “A strong attraction test identifies content (images, themes, and characters) that are highly attractive to under 18s, regardless of how adults see them;
- Adopting the “strong” attractiveness test would reduce the potential for gambling advertisements to attract the attention of under 18s in an audience;
- Child-oriented content (such as animated characters and superheroes) is already banned. The new rules would extend to the behavior, language, fashion / appearance, etc. of characters likely to be highly appealing to those under the age of 18;
- In particular, it would be prohibited to include in advertising any person or character who is likely to be followed by anyone under the age of 18 or who has a strong attraction to anyone under the age of 18; and
- The new restriction would have a significant impact on gambling advertisers looking to promote their brands with celebrity athletes, celebrities and social media influencers.
In September 2021, advertising of gambling in Spain was restricted when several measures contained in the Royal Decree on the commercial communication of gambling activities were announced. Restrictions included a ban on the use of celebrities in gambling advertising, which stipulates that gambling advertising may not use any person known, directly or indirectly, in public. Other restrictions included a ban on the use of gambling tokens on sportswear and sponsorship activities that consist of the use of an operator’s mark to identify a sports facility. The penalty for non-compliance includes fines between € 100,000 and € 1 million.
Australia is legal to use celebrities in gambling advertising, but there are extensive federal, state, and territorial advertising restrictions that apply to legitimate advertising of gambling services. In addition to the usual warnings about responsible gambling, it is a criminal offense to advertise an incentive to open a betting account and to gamble more frequently in some jurisdictions.
In jurisdictions where gambling advertising is regulated, it is important that operators review all relevant laws, regulations and relevant codes before engaging in any marketing or promotional activity, especially when attempting to feature an influencer or a celebrity. Obtaining advertising permits prior to designing and producing a marketing campaign is a preventative and safe step to avoid violating advertising restrictions.