Tuesday, 16 February 2021

BGC Announces New Rules For Gambling Posts On Football Social Media

Social Media

The Betting and Gaming Council (BGC) has announced a series of new rules over the publishing of gambling posts on football social media channels.

The BGC’s new rules were announced this week and will come into effect from March 1st, 2021. The rules come as part of a move to prevent the promotion of gambling on football club websites and social media channels which are regularly visited or viewed by under-18s, stamping down on gambling exposure to those under 18.

According to the BGC, the new rules ban calls to action or links to gambling websites in organic tweets on football club social media channels. The new code of conduct also bans any display or promotion of bonuses or odds on organic tweets that cannot be specifically targeted to people over the age of 18.

The BGC has confirmed that it’s writing a letter to the Premier League and the English Football League informing them of the new guidelines so they can raise awareness among football clubs and encourage them to follow the rules.¬†Another letter will be sent to social media platforms Twitter and Facebook, urging the tech companies to implement an age-gating for social media accounts to ensure that organic posts with gambling adverts are only seen by those over 18.

Brigid Simmonds, the Chairman of the BGC, said in a statement: “Football clubs are an important part of the sporting fabric of this country, followed by millions of all ages on social media. Our members rightly have a zero-tolerance approach to gambling by under-18s, so as an industry we are understandably concerned that children may be exposed to betting adverts on Twitter. 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.”

The news comes after the BGC last year published the Sixth Industry Code for Socially Responsible Advertising requiring all members to ensure that sponsored or paid-for social media adverts only target people aged over 25. The code also required all gambling ads appearing on social media to make clear that they are strictly for people aged over 18 and that they must include safer gambling messages.

British Horse Racing Bodies Criticise New UKGC Checks

Several British horse racing bodies have criticised the UK Gambling Commission’s newly proposed affordability checks, claiming that said checks would have a “disastrous impact” on the horse racing industry as it attempts to recover from the Coronavirus pandemic.

Last November, the UK Gambling Commission launched a consultation for feedback over how gambling operator can improve their process of identifying players at risk of developing gambling harm. The consultation included a proposal which requires operators to implement affordability assessments at thresholds set by the Commission.

The proposal has been heavily criticised, and this week the British Horseracing Authority (BHA), the Racecourse Association (RCA), and the Horsemen’s Group (HG) have all slammed the proposal, criticising the Commission’s supposed lack of evidence and warning of its impact on the industry and customers.

The three organisation have said argued that around two-thirds of horse race betting is online, that the sport has two levels of gambling harm issues, and that the Commission isn’t taking into account the people who bet safely and responsibly. However, the organisations confirmed they are willing to work with the UK Government on its review of the Gambling Act 2005 to develop new laws suited to the modern-day online gambling market.

In a joint statement obtained by Gambling Insider, the organisations said: “With the possibility of a damaging regulatory intervention on affordability, as well as the impact of betting shop closures and the absence of spectators, racing’s leaders see the need to adopt a flexible and collaborative approach. Executives are ready to develop proposals in dialogue with betting operators, whilst providing the government with fresh evidence of market changes that have taken place since 2017, to demonstrate the case for reform.”

BHA Chief Executive Julie Harrington added: “A majority of our work, and of leaders across the industry, is currently focused on a range of financial issues that are vital to racing recovering from the impact of Covid-19. We have to plan for a range of possibilities and are working with [the] Government and other sports on the return of spectators and owners as soon as that is possible.”

RCA Chief Executive David Armstrong told iGaming Business: “Racing is approaching the most critical period since the beginning of the pandemic. With external regulatory issues facing us in the form of the Affordability Review, the Gambling Act Review, and Brexit, plus no immediate prospect of race-goers returning, the next six months will be the most crucial period on our recovery journey.”

Racehorse Owners Association Cheif Executive Charlie Liverton told iGamingBusiness: “The effect of Covid-19 continues to impact British racing, both on and off the racecourse. The potential ramifications of Government reviews, including the Gambling Act and the Affordability Review, are concerning. The return of owners to the racecourse remains a key objective, working with the RCA and BHA to open up racecourses to race-goers as soon as regulations allow.”

The organisations’ joint statement comes amid a back-and-forth between the UK Gambling Commission against the BGC and gambling operators. The BGC and operators have all warned that over-regulation could push British gamers to play at overseas unlicensed and illegal gambling sites. However, the UK Gambling Commission has rebutted the warnings, claiming that they are “exaggerated”.