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BGC new advertising rules on digital media: summary of key changes

Posted on 25 September 2023

The Betting and Gaming Council (BGC) announced on 4 September 2023 that it will be unveiling new advertising measures in the Seventh Edition of its Industry Code for Socially Responsible Advertising (IGRG code). 

The changes aim to increase the number and impact of safer gambling messages and to further protect under-18s from being exposed to gambling adverts on digital media. 

The Seventh Edition of the IGRG code will replace the previous version, published in September 2020, and is due to come into effect from 1 December 2023. 

Below is a summary of the key changes proposed compared to the previous measures in the code: 

1) Extension of the current commitment that 20% of advertising should be devoted to safer gambling messaging to digital media advertising  

Under the previous version of the code, this commitment only applied to TV and radio advertising (paras. 41 – 45). 

2) Expansion of the 25+ rule to all digital media platforms who provide an appropriate age filter  

The previous version of the code required that all sponsored and paid-for social media adverts must be targeted at users aged over 25 unless the website could prove that its ads could precisely target over-18s with appropriate age filters (para. 55). 

The previous requirement therefore provided an additional level of protection for under-18s on platforms relying exclusively on self-certified third-party data, which could be incorrect.  

Under the existing protocol, the BGC was able to exercise discretion to reduce the age filter to 18+ following a platform's submission of evidence on the accuracy of its age verification systems. The IGRG had listed Facebook and Snap as examples of platforms that signatories were allowed to use for 18+ targeting following evidence of the accuracy of their targeting. 

However, the BGC has decided that the 25+ rule should apply to all digital media platforms, including those which operate their own age verification processes. 

The BGC announced these changes through a publication on their website

The Sixth Edition of the IGRG code can be found here

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