BGC partners with tech giants to improve advertising safeguards

The UK’s Betting and Gaming Council (BGC) has launched an adtech forum with several gambling operators, to see how technology can help protect vulnerable people and children online.

This comes after the UK gambling industry standards body recently called on the government to focus on child protection in its upcoming gambling reform white paper.

BGC launches adtech forum

Members of the BGC including Bet365, Flutter and William Hill, have joined the BGC’s project, along with members of the Advertising Association and Lotteries Council.

Additionally, technology giants such as Google, Meta, Twitter, and Snap have agreed to contribute to the initiative.

As outlined in the BGC’s announcement, the new forum will look to build upon the commitments made in the Sixth Industry Code for Socially Responsible Advertising. 

The Sixth Industry Code demands that gambling operators ensure all sponsored or paid for social media advertising is aimed at people aged 25 and over unless it can be proved that the adverts meet a standard of age targeting that is verified by a specific entity.

The code also requires gambling adverts that appear on search engines to clearly state that these products are for people aged 18 and over. Adverts must also include safer gambling messaging.

Speaking on the new initiative, Michael Dugher, chief executive of the BGC, said: “I am delighted that the BGC has been able to co-ordinate the Ad Tech Forum, which I’m sure will come up with new ways of protecting young people and the vulnerable online.

“Since being set up two years ago, we have worked tirelessly to drive up standards and promote safer gambling, and this is proof of our determination to go even further.”

Stephen Woodford, Chief Executive of the Advertising Association, added: “We welcome the proactive work by the gambling industry with tech platforms and advertising bodies. It is essential that gambling ads online and in social media meet the highest standards of social responsibility.”

What else has the BGC been up to?

Earlier this month, the BGC called upon the government to put child protection “front and centre” of the upcoming gambling white paper.

Dugher explained that the BGC strongly supports “the Government’s Gambling Review, which highlighted the protection of children and vulnerable people in a fair and open gambling economy as one of the Government’s main priorities. We therefore hope that child protection will be front and centre of the forthcoming white paper.”

Since taking leadership of the BGC in 2019, Dugher has helped push the industry’s unified commitment to keeping young people safe from gambling harms through stricter age-verification requirements, implementing advertising safeguards, and raising awareness through education.

During Dugher’s tenure, BGC members have committed to 15 new child protection measures. This includes the development of a £10m “Young People’s Gambling Harm Prevention Programme” as well as the implementation of the new Code of Conduct on advertising.

Last month, the BGC also welcomed the news that Facebook is set to introduce an opt-out option for the vast majority of betting adverts on its platform.