Changes to the UK advertising rules on lotteries limiting the depiction of under 25s


The Advertising Standards Authority has published guidance on new rules in the Codes of both the Committee of Advertising Practice and the Broadcast Committee of Advertising Practice in relation to the depiction of under 25s in lottery advertising. The aim of limiting the appearance of under-25s in advertising relating to lotteries is to help ensure that age-restricted products do not particularly appeal to those too young to purchase them.

Under the new rules, advertisements and marketing communications in relation to lotteries must not feature anyone who is, or seems to be, under the age of 25 participating in gambling. Advertising or marketing which relates to scratch cards or online instant-win lottery products should not feature under-25s in any ‘significant role’. The guidance states that imagery will either be ‘incidental’ or ‘significant’ and provides guidance to help determine which category certain imagery fits into. For example, under-25s forming a small part of a larger group would likely be seen as incidental whereas if they have speaking parts or are the sole focus of a shot, this is likely to be considered significant.

The same rules apply to advertising and marketing materials for lotteries that does not relate to scratch cards or instant win products however with exceptions, as these lotteries are not considered to be as high risk. Under 25s can be shown in a significant role if: (a) solely to depict the good causes supported by the lottery and there is no explicit encouragement to purchase a lottery product; or (b) if the lottery primarily benefits under-25s and those featured in the advertising are representative of the beneficiaries. For lotteries to qualify for the exception under (b) at least 50% of the funds raised by the lottery must benefit people under the age of 25.

The guidance notes that notwithstanding the rules on depicting under-25s, advertising should take care not to breach the rules on appealing to children if they are able to feature under-25s in a significant way. The following must be avoided:

  • Exploiting the susceptibilities, aspirations, credulity, inexperience or lack of knowledge of children, young persons or other vulnerable persons.
  • Being likely to be of particular appeal to children or young persons, especially by reflecting or being associated with youth culture.
  • Being directed at those aged under 16 years through the selection of media or context in which they appeal.

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