12-year low in children’s exposure to gambling ads, says ASA study


Gambling advertisements seen by children on television has fallen to an average of 2.5 per cent in 2019, declining from 3.2 a year earlier and from a peak of 4.4 in 2013.

According to new figures released by the Advertising Standards Authority, gambling adverts made up less 2.1 per cent (2018: 2.2 per cent) of all those seen by children over the course of the year. 

Children’s exposure to TV gambling ads, relative to adults’, stood at 17.2 per cent in 2019, the lowest in the 12-year period covered. This means that in 2019, children saw, on average, just under one gambling ad for every five seen by adults.

Since 2011, which the ASA states is “the first year when we can be confident about product breakdown information for gambling products,” ads for bingo, lottery and scratchcards have continued to make up the majority of gambling ads that children see on TV. This is followed by those for casinos and sports-related gambling. 

The report forms part of an ongoing commitment to making sure that rules are working effectively to protect children, and young and vulnerable people, with the ASA’s exposure data relating to age-restricted product categories that also includes alcohol.

Between 2008 and 2019 children’s exposure to all TV ads decreased by 47.2 per cent, from 219.5 ads per week in 2008 to 115.9 ads per week in 2019.

Children’s total TV ad exposure, relative to adults’, has fallen from a peak of 63.9 per cent in 2008 to 34.6 per cent in 2019. That means children saw, on average, just over one ad for every three TV ads seen by adults in 2019. 

Guy Parker, ASA chief executive, commented: “Our latest report shows that children’s exposure to TV ads for alcohol and gambling products remains low. We will continue our proactive monitoring to make sure this remains the case for TV ads as well as carrying out further monitoring online so that we limit children’s exposure to age-restricted ads wherever they appear.”

Despite the findings suggesting that TV ad rules are continuing to help appropriately limit children’s exposure to age-restricted ads, the ASA asserts that it is mindful of “shifting media consumption habits”.

Driven by increasing consumption of online media, such as on-demand and online video use as well as social media engagement, the ASA asserts a “need to remain vigilant in policing ads for age-restricted products in other media”.

In parallel the ASA “has been harnessing new technology to proactively monitor children’s exposure to ads online and taking quick and effective action where it identifies any problems”.