UKGC Removed Tweet Associating Sports Betting, Kids, Apologized

While the association might be debatable for some, the real issue here isn’t the content, but rather – the context. Looking back at the recent months for regulation in the industry, a slightly suggestive tweet is hardly the nation’s biggest problem. It was fixed, though.

Associating Gambling, Kids by Mistake

The UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) removed a tweet it made last Friday, December 9, and later issued an apology for the unintended association it invoked. The tweet in question contained a message to consumers to trust only licensed companies and included a link to its own online register listing licensees, however, it also contained a gif with a kid celebrating a soccer game.

The removed tweet was made a day before England was to face France in the quarterfinals, and was following a steady flow of similar messages, excluding the questionable association. It said “Whether it’s your first time betting on the World Cup, or not, make sure you protect yourself with licensed companies” and was followed by the link to its online register, so nothing in the messaging was related to the removal.

UK’s minimum gambling age is 18, and all licensed operators are required to have a compliant policy in place that prevents underage gambling. So, it’s safe to say that the Commission’s apology for the “unintended association” was simply an oversight during the publication of the controversial tweet in question. After it deleted the tweet and issued another one, apologizing for the first one’s publication, the UKGC tweeted again the same message about its online register but used a different gif.

UKGC Stepping on Touchy Ground

The UKGC, like anything that relates to gambling regulation in the UK, is often in the conversation mostly for the extremely delayed gambling white paper. It was supposed to give the start to gambling reforms in the country, with UK’s Gambling Act dating all the way back to 2005 – before the first iPhone was even released.

The situation hasn’t changed much since the summer, with various explanations being tossed around every time the delay was announced or acknowledged. Having already been faced with criticism over the delay, it didn’t help that news of UK teenagers addicted to gambling was spreading as well. It’s a dark picture that’s being painted on the news, with reports often citing government inactivity as part of the growing gambling problem in the country.

It was towards the end of October when the UKGC announced it would be changing its approach for this year’s Young People and Gambling 2022 Report, released on November 10. The Commission explained that because of the sweeping changes in methodology, structure, and scope of the new report, it would not be directly comparable to previous years’ similar reports.

In this context, having already brought focus on underage gambling in the UK, UKGC’s tweet containing an image of a kid celebrating at a soccer game might – for some – seem like it’s making matters worse. However, it’s important to note that the white paper’s review is being held up by the government, and the UKGC hasn’t got a lot to do about it.