The contentious issue of gambling advertising has once again reared its head after social media giant Snap – who owns the popular Snapchat platform – confirmed they will introduce an opt-out of gambling related advertisements for UK users.

The agreement reached with the Betting and Gaming Council (BGC) will give Snapchat users the option to not see any gambling related advertisements or commercials while using the app.

Facebook, Google and Youtube all let you adjust your ad settings so as not to see gambling advertisements, while Twitter doesn’t currently have a system in place to do this, according to BeGambleAware.

“It’s fantastic to roll this change out and we’re grateful to have partners in the BGC who are doing vital work to ensure this industry continues to grow and evolve with consumers at the heart,” said Ed Couchman, Snap UK general manager.

Tighter Gambling Regulations

Gambling advertising is under the spotlight in both Europe and America as online casinos and sportsbooks seek to reach a wider audience. Sports fans now regularly see commercials for betting on games, while casino ads fill many daytime TV slots.

Snap’s willingness to create an opt-out of gambling ads on their platform is just the latest in a growing trend of restrictions against the commercialization of gambling to customers in Europe. Across the UK and the EU, regulators are clamping down on the reach of advertising on media such as TV, radio and the internet.

UK gambling operators must advertise under the Industry Code for Socially Responsible Advertising, whose there are growing calls for a gambling ombudsman. A ban on sports betting advertising during games is also in place. Meanwhile in Italy gambling commercials have been banned for the past two years, while Ireland and Australia could soon follow.

Some countries are taking a whitewashed approach to gambling advertising, while others are less heavy handed and instead regulate who sees ads, so that children and minors, for example, aren’t exposed to the industry.

How Do Gambling Regulations In The US Impact Ads?

The sorts of measures seen implemented on social media platforms and TV in Europe has fuelled a conversation taking place in America over what gambling advertising regulations could look like in the near future.

America is a growing market for online sports and casino betting, and with that growth has come a rapid rise in the number of media platforms promoting betting. Gambling companies are beginning to sponsor some of America’s biggest sports franchises, while betting in-play on sports such as NFL, baseball and basketball from smartphones is being normalized in more and more states.

In fact, gambling and betting ad spend from three core companies – FanDuel, Bet365, and DraftKings – recently surpassed $200m year on year.

But experts don’t believe there will be a big rush to restrict gambling advertising any time soon. That’s because lawyers will argue the First Amendment protects commercial speech in the US – and so a government would have to strongly prove that banning gambling advertising was in the interest of the country, in order to pass through that sort of legislation.

What’s more, the big broadcasters like FOX and ESPN have already expanded into the betting industry and are likely to put up a fight should any restrictions be implemented.

We may not see a ban on the level of Italy, therefore, but there are nevertheless obvious grounds for where advertising gambling should likely be restricted – for example, not advertising to children or minors.

Some states try to limit the number of operators and establish who they can advertise to, with New York particularly vigilant at state level in this activity. But others, like New Jersey, have taken a much softer approach to legislation over gambling commercials in recent years.

Whether we will ever see the types of changes being enacted in the UK and Europe remains to be seen.

Joe Ellison

Joseph is a dedicated journalist and horse racing fanatic who has been writing about sports and casinos for over a decade. He has worked with some of the UK's top bookmakers and provides Premier League soccer tips on a regular basis. You'll likely find him watching horse racing or rugby when he isn't writing about sport.

Back To Top
Back To Top