The Betting and Gaming Council (BGC) has moved to prevent football clubs in the UK from actively promoting betting companies on social media.
The council decided it was time to take action following a tweet by the official Arsenal Twitter account that promoted gambling with their sports betting partner, sportsbet.io. In the tweet, the club suggested a possible bet on their upcoming match against Southampton followed by a clear call to action.
The new rules come into effect on March 1st and prohibit clubs from placing calls to action or direct links to sports betting sites in their organic social media posts. The rules also state that odds or bonuses can only be included in sponsored social media posts that target over-18s.
The Premier League and the English Football League will be responsible for ensuring that all clubs have been informed of the new code of conduct.
Speaking of the new code of conduct, Brigid Simmonds, chairman of the BGC, said:
“Football clubs are an important part of the sporting fabric of this country, followed by millions of all ages on social media.
“Our members rightly have a zero tolerance approach to gambling by under-18s, so as an industry we are understandably concerned that children may be exposed to betting adverts on Twitter.
“Our new guidelines make clear the standards expected of football clubs when they post gambling promotions on social media, and I look forward to them being put into practice as soon as possible.”
The BGC has also contacted both Twitter and Facebook asking for further restrictions regrading the display of organic posts. The BGC hopes that both platforms can introduce age-gating which would ensure that any organic posts that promote betting cannot be seen by users who are under 18.
Many of football’s leading names have spoken against the promotion of betting by Premier League clubs. Gary Lineker, in particular, has called out clubs on Twitter on numerous occasions for encouraging supporters to gamble.
The introduction of the BGC’s new code of conduct comes only a week after a group of 50 former gambling addicts wrote to 11 clubs in both England and Scotland warning about the dangers of gambling promotion.