As much fun as gambling can be. We are all well aware that it has its downsides and that vulnerable groups. like children, need to be protected from the dangers of addictive behavior. As such, on 1 October 2022, the UK’s Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP) intensified their efforts to minimize the impact of problem gambling on under-18s through the enforcement of new rules on gambling advertising which impose new restrictions on the way gambling operators interact with young people when marketing their services.
And it’s not just operators who need to be hold accountable and monitor users through KYC procedures. Well-established no-deposit bonus guides like NoDeposit365, who partner up with industry giants, also carry a fair share of the responsibility.
The New Rules
The new legal gambling advertising rules which came into force earlier this month stem from a decision made by the Advertising Standards Authority to ban elements of advertising deemed to have a ‘strong appeal’ rather than a ‘particular appeal’ to minors. While it may seem like a somewhat minor change. This decision was met with intense reactions, which was first discuss publicly back in April.
In reality, this ban which received far less attention when it became law. Focuses mostly on the appearance of celebrities in gambling ads. This included top footballers, social media influencers and reality TV stars from shows such as Love Island.
Historically, gambling operators have utilized the profile of such celebrities to draw attention to their portal. So, many marketing teams will be force to rethink their strategies with regard to celebrity endorsements in light of these new restrictions.
Industry Criticism of CAP’s New Rules
Naturally, gambling operators have provided a considerable amount of pushback against these new rules. Taking issue with the fact that the term ‘strong appeal’ is hardly specific. Furthermore, in discussion before the announcement of these rules, the Betting and Gaming Council (BGC) said there needed to be more thought put into whether adverts were disproportionately targeting under-18s rather than superficially assuming that a celebrity ambassador that appealed to this demographic proved problematic.
However, despite this initial industry criticism, the BGC has acknowledged the value of the new rules. They have been relatively accommodating and supportive of them since their introduction earlier this month.
Has The Gambling Industry Become Too Reliant On Celebrity Ambassadors?
There is no doubt about it; whether you are talking about fashion brands that use celebrities to raise their profile on the red carpet or gambling ads that feature top footballers, celebrity endorsements have long been a way to capture public attention. However, due to the contentious nature of the gambling industry. Both casino operators and their celebrity partners have faced criticism in recent years.
Much of the difficulty with these types of rules on celebrity endorsements is deciding which ads appeal to children is never straightforward. The popularity of reality TV shows has increased the appeal of certain celebrities amongst those under 18. For instance, Harry Redknapp, who featured in a BetVictor ad campaign. Became increasingly recognizable after his victory in I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here. Which resulted in the gambling operator being the target of criticism for promoting their services to a younger demographic.
Although CAPs attempt to protect under-18s from the temptations of gambling. The fact is that gambling operators have used celebrity ambassadors to promote their services. It is done for years regardless of the appeal to particular demographic groups. This begs the question of whether the industry has become overly reliant on celebrities in its marketing efforts across the board.
For instance, the use of footballers in gambling ads is often criticize for taking advantage of sports fans. So it’s understandable that both gambling operators and the celebrities themselves would start to question whether these partnerships are really worth it.
The Issue Beyond The UK
The UK isn’t the only country that has experienced this issue where the gambling industry has criticized its overreliance on celebrities. In the USA, the problem is worse, with almost every major gambling operator. They are trying to close deals with Hollywood celebrities and stars from the ‘Big Four’ sports leagues.
As for the under-18 age group, BetMGM recently announced Vanessa Hudgens would be their latest celebrity ambassador. The former Disney Channel star has also starred in several Netflix movies aged at this younger demographic. So it looks like it is only a matter of time before casino operators working in the US will need to rethink their reliance on such ambassadors if they want to avoid criticism.
The Future of Advertising For The Gambling Industry
It is evident that these relationships between gambling operators and celebrity ambassadors are highly problematic not only as far as the appeal to children is concerned. Even adverts featuring celebrities that don’t necessarily have particular relevance to kids are criticize for being exploitative in different ways. For example, Jose Mourinho was criticize for promoting a Paddy Power Daily Jackpot feature. As the association with a gambling provider in any sense was consider unethical.
Of course, there will be people who criticize almost any aspect of gambling-related activity. However, celebrities are likely to give in to this pressure to disassociate themselves from this type of negative publicity. On the flipside. The reliance on celebrity ambassadors could be argue to be ‘lazy’ marketing on the part of gambling operators who are unwilling to think more creatively. Some may even go as far as to say the new rules imposed by CAP. It could be a blessing in disguise for gambling operators. They need a bit more of a push to implement a more nuanced marketing strategy.