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No celebs in ads and possible betting limits on the cards for UK casinos

UK gambling laws are once again under scrutiny. Big changes could be on the cards for casinos as new laws are decided.


The United Kingdom is notorious for being one of the strictest and most pedantic countries with regards to laws revolving around gambling.

Whether online gambling or land-based casinos, new laws and restrictions are constantly being put in place to protect underage and at-risk gamblers.

There are two new instances of this focus on gambling laws that will greatly affect the industry going forward.

No celebrities in gambling ads

In order to protect children from potentially being influenced by gambling ads, the UK Committees of Advertising Practice (CAP) has set new law in place.

Tasked with setting advertising standards that focus on responsible gambling as far as possible, the new law states that no sports personalities or celebrities may appear in gambling ads.

However, there are a few facts that need to be pointed out.

  1. This law only applies when the ad could possibly appeal to children.
  2. All ads that are not deemed targeting children and have celebrities as the star, can remain on the air.
  3. Ads that have celebrities or sports personalities in them when the law comes into play (and could target children in some way) must be removed.

The decision to add this law to the growing list of restrictions was all due to GambleAware research. The research found that ads containing well-known faces had the potential to appeal to underage audiences far more than previously considered.

Other notable restrictions on gambling ads include the limitation of casino or betting ads to audiences where more than 25% of viewers are under the age of 18. Gambling ads on live sports events are also restricted to before or after the match but not during. Known as the whistle-to-whistle ban, the Betting and Gaming Council claims that it has reduced underage audiences being exposed to gambling ads by up to 97%.

Possible changes to UK gambling laws

The overhaul of the entire UK gambling laws has been on the cards for many years now. The industry has been calling for change while others are wanting gambling shut down entirely.

Currently, the gambling industry brings in £14.5 billion in revenue each year but the Gambling Act 2005 is simply no longer adequate.

December 2020 kicked off with the review of the current gambling laws and there are a number of potential changes on the cards.

Possible upcoming changes for 2021 include:

  • Putting a cap on placing bets at online casinos
  • A strict testing regime for new casino products
  • Banning sports sponsorships
  • Tougher affordability checks for players

The cap on betting at online casinos is a point that stands out. Currently, players are able to place bets on as many games as they please, for as much as they want every month. There’s no cap on the amount you can deposit or bet unless players choose to implement these limits via responsible gambling tools.

However, if new laws come into place after the review, there’s a chance that players will be capped at a certain amount per bet. There could also be a monthly deposit limit on casino accounts.

Caps such as this have been discussed and considered by other countries too. Anti-gambling movements have long called for the UKGC to follow and restrict how much players can deposit, bet and possibly lose.

Whether or not these restrictions and laws will truly make a difference to underage and problem gambling remains to be seen. While many feel these restrictions are a form hand-holding, the UKGC has a responsibility to keep their citizens safe as far as possible.

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