UK Gambling Commission Partners With Facebook for Gambling Ad Guidance

  • UKGC is aiming to better protect vulnerable customers by advising them on Facebook ad controls
  • Ad tech reform is part of the UKGC's three challenges, set to the industry in October 2019
  • The guide includes four steps for amending ad preferences and information on data control
  • The Commission has also challenged the industry on VIP incentives and game design
Facebooks ads screen on a laptop
The UK Gambling Commission has unveiled a new document with advice for consumers aiming to control whether they see gambling related ads on Facebook. [Image: Shutterstock]

A little help for consumers

The UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) has teamed up with Facebook to publish new guidance for consumers looking to limit gambling related advertisements on the social media platform. The four-page document aims to help Facebook users control the ads they see.

Among the guidance included within the document is advice for consumers in relation to hiding ads from Facebook timelines and maintaining greater control over ad preferences. The guidance also offers advice on managing data, informing consumers about how their data is used on and off Facebook to dictate which advertisements they see.

part of the Commission’s three-part industry challenge

The guide is part of the Commission’s three-part industry challenge which was posed to UK gambling companies in October 2019. The third challenge, aimed at advertising technology, urged the industry to reduce the amount of online gambling advertising seen by children, young people, and vulnerable adults.

A closer look at the guide

The UKGC’s guide provides consumers with four steps which will allow them greater control over the advertisements they see on Facebook. As part of these four steps, the guide advises consumers to be more cautious when engaging with certain Facebook content, such as gambling related pages. Facebook users are also advised to hide ads or utilize the ad preferences tool to gain greater control.

consumers are told how to manage the way their third-party data is used for advertisements

On pages three and four of the document, the Commission includes information on updating ad preferences, which allows consumers to block ads from certain advertisers. Additionally, consumers are told how to manage the way their third-party data is used for advertisements both on and off the Facebook app or site.

Commenting on the new guidance, Neil McArthur, UKGC CEO, said: “Partnering with Facebook to produce this guidance is a welcome step for us in order to offer consumers clear, practical advice, and I hope that this will help them limit the gambling-related content they see when using the platform.”

The Commission’s three challenges

In October last year, the Commission laid down three challenges for the UK gambling industry, with the aim of making gambling safer and reducing gambling related harm. The problem areas included within the three challenges were: incentives for high value customers, game and product design, and the use of ad-tech in gambling advertisement.

In April 2020, the UKGC provided an update on how the industry had responded to the challenges. Working groups consisting of senior leaders in the industry had established a number of ways in which players could be better protected. Among this list were a ban on customers under 25 years of age from VIP schemes and the strengthening of online advertising rules to better protect the vulnerable.

As a result of these suggestions, the Commission has announced that it will consult on making permanent amendments to its Licence Codes and Conditions of Practice (LCCP). Once implemented, the regulatory body expects the industry to introduce the changes within three months. This will then be monitored by the Commission.  

In June, the UKGC launched a consultation into VIP gambling, partly based on suggestions made by an industry working group. The group, which included GVC Holdings and the Betting and Gaming Council, had set out several improvements to VIP standards in a draft code. Changes included more frequent sustainability checks and customer assessments.