New Zealand sets protection focus with new advertising code

11 April 2019

New Zealand’s Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has published a new code for gambling adverts in the country, with a focus on protecting children, young people and other vulnerable people from gambling-related harm.

The new code applies to ads for gambling products and venues, as well as betting on racing or sports events.

It has been developed by the ASA Codes Committee, with input from advertisers, agencies and representatives of media companies and public bodies, and in consultation with industry and public sectors. The code will come into effect on August 5, 2019, although operators will have until November 4 to ensure their ads comply with the new code.

“Reviewing and updating the Codes is an important part of the ASA’s work and it is great to have the new Gambling Advertising Code in place to support responsible advertising to consumers,” ASA chief executive, Hilary Souter said.

The code sets out how all gambling ads should be created with a high standard of social responsibility to both consumers and society as a whole. No gambling ad should purposely target children under the age of 14 or young people aged up to 18.

As such, operators should ensure their ads do not feature content that may appeal to younger people, while both the time and location where ads are placed should be taken into account so as not to appear most before children and young people.

The code also states gambling ads must not portray or represent anything that will, or is likely to, cause, condone or encourage harm from gambling activities. This includes not promoting gambling as a means of relieving or improving a person’s financial, professional or personal difficulties.

Ads should not misrepresent the level of financial risk associated with gambling, nor state or imply a promise of winning or portray unrealistic outcomes from winning.

In relation to this, a section in the code sets out how operators must ensure ads do not mislead or be likely to mislead, deceive or confuse the customer about their trust or exploit lack of knowledge. This covers issues ranging from implications, inaccuracies and ambiguity to exaggerations, unrealistic claims, omissions and false representation.

The ASA advises that adverts must not make claims about the chance of winning unless they are factual and able to be proven, exaggerate the chance of winning or the size of the prize, or falsely imply that a customer’s skill can influence the outcome, unless this is actually the case.

All adverts must include the terms and conditions or a reference to where they can be found, while these must be easily understood and not contradict the ad content.