The number of gambling adverts viewed by children has dramatically decreased according to a report by the UK Advertising Standards Authority, which found the greatest exposure was to ads for bingo and lottery products.
The report, which comes after a year where igaming operators faced a barrage of criticism over the use of games and marketing techniques that might appeal to children, highlights major differences in the numbers of gambling adverts viewed by children as opposed to adults.
The findings reveal that fewer than two per cent of adverts viewed by children yearly were from the gambling industry. Significantly, children’s exposure to gambling adverts reduced from 2008 to 2017, specifically in contrast to adults, with children seeing approximately one advert for every five seen by adults in 2017.
Last year the UK Gambling Commission strengthened safeguards curbing the potential for children to become involved in gambling, implementing regulations that were seen as essential to protect minors, such as banning operators from providing free-to-play demo games until a consumer’s age has been determined, as well as increasing the efficiency of the age verification processes.
However, the ASA report reveals that when gambling advertising reaches children, the majority of the time it’s promoting bingo, lottery and scratchcards.
This is something that is supported by the Commission’s recent annual young people and gambling report, which identified that National Lottery participation, casual betting among friends and pub machines are the primary source of betting for the one in seven 11 to 16 year olds that have gambled recently.
Six per cent played online using a parent or guardian’s account. However, this group’s online activities were also dominated by the National Lottery, with just two per cent of those youngsters surveyed claiming to have played at “other gambling websites” with their parents’ permission.
ASA chief executive Guy Parker stated: “Protecting children has always been at the heart of our regulation. These findings show that in recent years, children’s exposure to TV ads for alcohol, gambling and food and soft drink products high in fat, salt or sugar is declining.
“We’re not complacent though and we’ll continue to actively monitor and report on this important area of work. Our next focus will be to examine whether the rules are working in the same way online and we’ll report on that later in 2019.”
Nonetheless, criticism over the prominent advertising remains, mainly due to the exasperated presence of casino and betting operators on football shirts. This is something that will be discussed at the upcoming Betting on Football Conference. The event brings together key stakeholders from the industry to address whether the industry can regain the trust of the public.