Celebrities and sports stars will no longer be allowed to appear and endorse casinos and sportsbooks in advertisements. These changes are being introduced by the Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP).
The reason for the changes is to prevent young people from being influenced by their idols into gambling, especially when underage. With many companies already using celebrities in their adverts, the changes are going to cause a stir.
It will have a significant impact on gambling companies using footballers, pundits and managers to promote their services on TV adverts, such as PokerStars and Betway. The new rules will be in effect by the 1st of October 2022, just before the Qatar World Cup 2022 is due to take place – a time when sportsbooks usually make a big push with advertising.
The new rules state that any celebrity, sports star and also social media influencers will not be allowed to appear and promote gambling services. Social media influencers have also been included because they may have an influence over children and people below the legal gambling age. They may become the next go-to when celebrities and footballers are banned, so the changes pre-empt such actions.
The rules also prevent gambling companies from showing stadiums and team kits within adverts and in-game content. Yet, the crossover between sports and gaming is still big enough to matter, with online casino sites now pushing Live Football Studio casino games. Although footballers may not be able to promote these types of games anymore, players will still be able to enjoy them.
There is a long history of footballers, ex-footballers and managers appearing in gambling advertisements. Jose Mourinho has featured in ads for a string of sportsbooks, and more recently, Jack Wilshire featured in a gambling advert while having a dig at his former club’s main rival, Tottenham Hotspur. Micah Richards, Roy Keane, Jeff Stelling and the recently retired Kris Kamara have all been heavily featured in gambling adverts over the years.
Their appearances in gambling advertisements have come under fire before, even by some of their colleagues, including Paul Merson. Mr Merson is well documented to have had a serious gambling addiction, which he still battles today. He’s even been on record to say that it “sickens” him to see players and colleagues taking up these ambassador roles and questions whether they really need the money they’re offered to appear.
Director of CAP, Shahriar Coupal, stated that the days that gambling operators could create content that would appeal to an underage population are numbered. He continued to suggest that gambling companies should embrace a new era where they can create advertisements geared towards their actual target market.