UK betting industry body the Betting and Gaming Council (BGC) has released new rules that are aimed at preventing the possibility of football clubs promoting gambling offers and betting operator websites through their official social media accounts.
Last week, a number of Premier League, English Football League (EFL) and Scottish Premiership clubs were the recipients of a letter from 50 former gambling addicts that warned of the risks associated with betting companies advertising through social media channels.
Eleven clubs in total across the UK received the letter, which explained the distress that addicts might feel to see links to operator sites in Twitter posts, for example, and which outlined the risks that they might be ‘encouraged’ to place a bet on a match.
As a result, the BGC has drawn up a new series of directives that are designed to protect young people and those vulnerable to gambling addiction.
Their new code of conduct, which will come into effect at the beginning of March, rules out the use of links or calls to action associated with gambling sites on any official social media feed. The new rules will also ban the display of direct bonuses or odds on social media messages that cannot be solely targeted at over-18s.
The BGC has reportedly written to the Premier League and the EFL as part of its efforts to highlight the new rules, as well as asking them to ensure that the rules also apply to advertising associated with betting companies that are not members of the BGC.
At the same time, a letter has been sent to major social networks Twitter and Facebook encouraging them to introduce age–gating across all social media accounts to make sure that organic posts which feature gambling adverts can only be viewed by over-18s.
The Chairman of the BGC, Brigid Simmonds OBE, said that football clubs were followed by millions across social media channels. She added that members of the BGC took a zero tolerance approach to under-age gambling and that the new rules were a reflection of that concern:
“Our new guidelines make clear the standards expected of football clubs when they post gambling promotions on social media, and I look forward to them being put into practice as soon as possible.”
Last August, the BGC launched their new Industry Code for Socially Responsible Advertising. Since then, the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has said that there has been a major improvement in the consistency of gambling-related adverts being restricted to over-18 audiences as a result.