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Gambling adverts telling people to ‘bet now’ to be banned in crackdown

Gambling adverts which encourage people to “bet now” and offer misleading “free money” deals will be banned as part of a new crackdown from regulators.

As reported by The Telegraph, the Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP) will enforce the crackdown from April and will ban adverts which break its updated standards.

The new, tougher rules come after the Gambling Commission found more than two million people in the UK are either problem gamblers or at risk of addiction and warned that the government and industry were not doing enough to tackle the problem.

Under the new rules, gambling firms will not be allowed to use phrases like “bet now” which could encourage a false sense of urgency in customers.

This means that the likes of Bet 365’s long-running campaign in which Ray Winstone encourages viewers to bet on the next scorer during football matches could be pulled off the air.

Under the new standards firms will also be required to make clear that “money back” offers must be in cash and not bonuses.

Director of the Committees of Advertising Practice, Shahriar Coupal, said: “We won’t tolerate gambling ads that exploit people’s vulnerabilities or play fast and loose with eye-catching free bet and bonus offers.

“Our new guidance takes account of the best available evidence to strengthen the protections already in place, ensuring that gambling is presented responsibly, minimising the potential for harm.”

However, gambling companies will still be permitted to show adverts before the 9pm watershed, which means children will still be exposed to gambling adverts during live football matches. On average, kids see 185 gambling adverts a year during matches.

A recent study revealed that an estimated 430,000 people in the UK suffer from serious gambling addiction, while a total of more than two million people are addicted to gambling or at risk of developing a problem.

But the CAP said its consultation found that “advertising does not play a causal or even significant role in problem gambling or harm in general,” because problem gambling rates had remained stable despite the increase in advertising.

The CAP published its new standards in response to a Government consultation on problem gambling, with other plans including cutting the maximum stake on fixed-odds betting terminals, more affordability checks before upgrading customers to VIP status, and banning credit cards for online gambling.

The new standards come into effect on April 2. The CAP will publish further guidance focusing on the protection of children and young people later this year.

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