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UK ad regulator wants Brits to report gambling ad violations

UK ad regulators are pushing gambling operators to make certain that they don’t exploit the COVID-19 crisis and worldwide lockdown to increase business. They’re also asking UK citizens to report any operators who violate that request.

The call for the public to say something if they see something came earlier this week from the UK Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) in an announcement on their website. In that missive, the ASA gets right to the point saying, “‘Lockdown’ has created a ‘captive audience’. Many people are anxious and uncertain about the future and a significant number face financial hardship. To some, gambling may even be seen as an escape from the situation they now find themselves in. Such vulnerabilities heighten risks associated with gambling.”

They go on to say that they’ve recently launched a service that allows UK citizens to directly report any business, not just gambling operators, that appears to be exploiting COVID-19 or making false claims regarding the deadly virus.

When it comes specifically to gambling operators, the ASA asks the public to please inform them if the operator does any of the following, “refer to the COVID-19 crisis or related matters, such as the government’s lockdown policy; and / or
include claims or themes that are of particular concern in the current climate (e.g. ads that refer to relieving boredom, repeated play or personal problems like family difficulties).”

The ASA goes on to point out these sorts of ads would be violations in normal times, but in these extraordinary times, they become much more siginificant. To date, however, there the types of violations the ad regulator is talking about haven’t been a problem. But as lockdown stretches on, it’s tough to say how any business will push to keep revenue flowing.