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Soccer superstars lose out as UK clamps down on gambling advertising

By our News Team | 2022

New advertising rules are meant to protect children and other vulnerable groups from the growth in marketing by sports-betting companies.

The organisation that sets the rules for advertising practice in the United Kingdom has announced that all gambling and betting advertisements which feature sports personalities, reality TV stars or social media celebrities will be banned.

These changes come into effect from 1 October and are designed to protect under-18s and other vulnerable groups. There has been a huge surge in these ads in Britain, most notably those promoting online sports betting.

According to the Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP), the new rules also include a ban on showing sports teams’ kits and stadiums in adverts and in video-game content.

The date of implementation is designed to be in place ahead of the soccer World Cup, which is due to be held in Qatar in the Middle East in late 2022. This would typically be a time when sports betting would be on the increase.

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Manager José Mourinho during his Manchester United days. Photo credit: Ardfern via Wikipedia

‘No more top-flight footballers’ permitted

“No more top-flight footballers or other high-profile sportspeople promoting the latest odds,” explained Shahriar Coupal, Director of the Committee of Advertising Practice. 

“No more social media influencers, TV stars or other celebrities popular with children inviting us to bet on red. And no more gambling ads featuring video-game images or gameplay familiar to many children’s lives.”

According to a report in the London-based Guardian newspaper, under the current rules an advert is banned only if it is likely to appeal more to an under-18 than to an adult. Under the new rules, an ad will be banned if it is “likely to be of strong appeal to children or young persons, especially by reflecting or being associated with youth culture”, regardless of how it may be viewed by adults.

The rules apply to broadcast media – such as TV, radio and cinema ads – as well as non-broadcast such as online and in newspapers, or on billboards and posters.

Among the sports celebrities who have appeared in gambling/betting ads are former Chelsea and Manchester United manager, José Mourinho, former Liverpool star Michael Owen, and current global soccer superstar Cristiano Ronaldo.

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