Facebook Introduces Opt-Out Option for Gambling Ads in UK

The Betting and Gambling Council has voiced its approval of the new feature.
November 26, 2021

The Betting and Gaming Council (BGC) has applauded a move by Facebook to allow users to opt-out of gambling-based advertising on its social media platform.

For the first time, Facebook users who do not wish to see promotional material for betting companies, will be able to block ads from appearing on their timelines.

According to the BGC’s website, it has been working closely with Facebook over the last 12 months and it hopes that more tools can be put in place in the future for people who, for whatever reason, might not want to see gambling related material.

Michael Dugher, the chief executive of the BGC was happy that its persistence has paid off: “This is yet more evidence of our commitment to raising standards in the regulated industry.”

More Work to be Done

Dugher praised Facebook’s cooperation but encouraged other social media companies to follow suit. He said, “I welcome this move by Facebook, and I would urge all social media and search platforms to provide the ability for users to opt out of viewing betting adverts.”

This latest step is in addition to the most recent Industry Code for Socially Responsible Advertising, which was updated last year. Dugher cites the code as “evidence of our determination to continue to ensure that standards are rising and are as high as they can possibly be.”

In accordance with the code, BGC members are obliged to guarantee that, unless adverts can be provably targeted at over 18s, all advertising on social media must be aimed at users who are 25 and over.

On top of this, at least 20% of tv and radio adverts for betting companies, must now be safer gambling messages.

The BGC website lists 15 Key Requirements of the Code for Members. These include

  • Television watershed and radio messaging restrictions.
  • Guidelines concerning online banner advertising; social media marketing, and key word blacklists.
  • Messaging to target adults only.
  • Promotion of responsible gambling information.

On that last point, the BGC stipulates that there should be safer gambling messages in all tv adverts, and that all print and broadcast adverts should include reference to www.begambleaware.org.

Social Media Gets on Board

The move by Facebook, is indicative of a growing awareness of responsible gambling issues among social media platforms — and echoes a similar move by Snapchat which was announced in July. Video sharing platform YouTube has also introduced similar tools.

Snap UK General Manager, Ed Couchman said at the time: “It has always been important to us that our community is able to influence the types of adverts they see on Snapchat.”

“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.”

Dugher wants to continue expanding the safer gambling message and sees regulation as essential to this kind of cooperative effort. He said, “The regulated betting and gaming industry is determined to promote safer gambling, unlike the unsafe and growing online black market, which has none of the safeguards which are commonplace among BGC members.”

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