The new rules, designed to protect gambling and betting companies under-18 and other vulnerable groups, will ban the use of ads featuring top-flight footballers and other sports personalities, as well as reality TV and social media stars.
Changes determined by the agency responsible for the UK code for advertising means past betting and gambling marketing that features stars and celebrities such as Cristiano Ronaldo, Jose Mourinho, Michael Owen and Harry Redknapp will not be approved in the UK. .
The expanded new rules include restrictions on certain teams’ football kits and stadium advertisements, as well as the use of video game content and popular gameplay for those under 18.
“No more top-flight footballers or other high-profile athletes will promote the recent adversity,” said Shahriar Kupal, director of the Advertising Practice Committee, which sets the rules governing ad advertising in the UK. “No social media is popular with celebrities, TV stars or other celebrities who invite us to bet on red. And, there will be no more gambling ads featuring video game pictures or gameplay familiar to many children’s lives. “
Under current rules, an ad is prohibited only if it can appeal to more than 18 adults under the age of 18. Under the new rules, an ad will be banned if it is “strongly appealing to children or young people, especially by reflecting or associating with youth culture”, regardless of how adults view it.
The new rules take effect in October, the month before the football World Cup in Qatar, a sporting event around which gambling and betting companies traditionally spend large sums on marketing to attract gamblers.
However, the Advertising Standards Authority, the agency that enforces the UK Advertising Code, does not have the power to control the content of party sponsors in disputed areas.
“It may not seem immediately significant, but the impact – especially in the World Cup year – will be dramatic,” Kapal said. “By ending these practices, our new rules invite a new era for gambling ads, especially for the adult audience that they may be targeting and more appropriate for the age-restricted product they are promoting.”
The new rules will prohibit the use of any celebrity, including significant fanbases, under the age of 18 in Love Island contestants, betting and gambling ads, ranging from sports stars. The rules apply to broadcast media, such as TV, radio and movie advertising, as well as non-broadcast such as online and in newspapers or on billboards and posters.
The ASA says children still see an average of 2.2 bets or gambling ads a week, although this is the lowest level in 12 years.