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Advertising Rules & the UK Online Gambling Industry

Advertising Rules & the UK Online Gambling Industry

UK online gambling is one of the most profitable and prosperous businesses that is completely legal thanks to the Gambling Commission's regulation. This entity is in charge of regulating and controlling all activities related to gambling in the country.

The Gambling Act of 2005 managed to make possible the attempt to regulate this industry since 1960, which allowed the licensing and regulation of different forms of gambling for national and international people to enjoy them.

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Today all gamblers in the UK have the opportunity to enjoy a wide range of casino slots when it comes to online gambling, be it casinos, gambling sites, online poker rooms, etc. Generally, people have to be at least 18 years old to be able to enjoy these gambling services, although there are several that are allowed for those with at least 16 years. Licenses in the UK are only required for professional players. Those who are not will not need them.

UK Gambling Industry Code for Socially Responsible Advertising

The UK Gambling Industry Code for Socially Responsible Advertising is administered by the Industry Group for Responsible Gambling (IGRG). The IGRG aims to provide a structure based on applying socially responsible practices for proper management in the UK's different gambling sectors.

The Industry Code for Socially Responsible Advertising was established on September 1, 2007, with the aim of creating measures for better social responsibility concerning the regulation of gambling advertising. On September 1, 2020, the IGRG published the sixth edition of the Industry Code for Socially Responsible Advertising to ensure the protection of vulnerable users, especially children.

This code complements the Code of Non-broadcast Advertising and Direct & Promotional Marketing (CAP) and the Code of Broadcast Advertising (BCAP) to provide minimum standards and establish a limited number of gambling industry areas. These are codes that establish advertising rules that must be followed by advertisers, agencies, and media owners in the UK.

UK Gambling Advertising Restrictions in the UK

Gambling advertising has considerably increased since it was established in 2005. Increasingly, vulnerable consumers, be they children, adolescents, or adults, may be affected in one way or another by being directly influenced by games and sports as a form of bet through advertising.

It is essential to highlight that the gaming and betting industry in the United Kingdom is represented mostly by the BGC (Betting and Gaming Council). The code of conduct of this association suggests compliance with the Industry Code for Socially Responsible Advertising.

All people selling gambling services in the UK must have a Gambling Commission license to transact with and advertise to British consumers. These operators must comply with the rules established in the Advertising Codes.

Gambling advertisements must not encourage socially irresponsible behaviour, destroy the aspirations and credulity of children and young people, encourage the population to gamble all their money to solve their financial problems, link this industry with sexual success, etc.

Why are Gambling Ads Still on TV?

UK government MPs decided to call for strict restrictions on gambling and a moratorium on advertising during the Covid-19 lockdown. This initiative aimed to protect all consumers from the potential risk of entering the world of gambling during such a complex economic situation.

They decided to set a deadline that began in May 2020 to remove any ads related to gambling on TV or radio. People were mainly influenced by advertisements during live sports games. However, the deadline had an end date of at least June 5.

Throughout this time, TV gambling advertising decreased, leading to an increase in online gambling ad impressions. Today, most TV and radio advertising spots have been replaced by safer gambling messages.

However, many gambling companies have continued to promote their advertisements through TV and radio since they did not consider it appropriate for their business to stop them, especially during Covid-19.


The United Kingdom is a nation in which gambling is regulated and totally legal for both operators and lovers of this industry. There is a lot of advertising about this field either on the Internet or on TV and radio, showing, in most cases, the different online gambling services in a socially responsible, safe, regulated, and licensed manner.

Anyone over the age of 18 can have a great gaming experience as long as they comply with the respective laws and play responsibly. Each of the rules and codes helps to control in a certain way the potential risks to which consumers are exposed, but in the end, they will depend solely on themselves.