Home Tech UK children bombarded with online gambling ads and images, charity warns

UK children bombarded with online gambling ads and images, charity warns

0 comment
UK children bombarded with online gambling ads and images, charity warns

Children are “saturated” with betting promotions and gambling-like content while using the internet, despite restrictions on advertising campaigns aimed at young people, new research reveals.

GambleAware, the charity funded by donations from gambling companies, commissioned research that found children did not understand the risks of online gambling due to the “blurred line” between gambling advertisements and popular games. online casino. He warns that gambling advertisements with cartoon graphics are likely to be very attractive to children. Last week, a gambling company was promoting a new online slots game on social media with three cartoon frogs, urging people to “take a dip” with the “joking rascals.”

GambleAware proposes new regulation to curb the amount of advertising young people see. Research commissioned by the charity found that children struggled to distinguish between gambling products and gambling-like content, such as mobile phone games played with in-app purchases.

Zoë Osmond, CEO of GambleAware, said: “This research shows that gambling content is now part of many children’s lives. This is concerning, as early exposure to gaming can normalize gaming in children at a young age and lead to problems. We need more restrictions on gambling advertising and content to ensure they do not appear in places where children can see them. “Urgent measures are needed to protect children.”

The report was based on interviews with children and young people aged between seven and 25 about how the game affected their lives. It found that young people felt their online activity was saturated with gambling promotions and gambling-like content.

GambleAware chief executive Zoë Osmond said urgent action was needed on online promotions to protect children. Photograph: Doug Peters/PA

He said a broader definition of gambling may be necessary to include excessive or compulsive engagement with online games that have gambling elements, such as loot boxes, which can be purchased with virtual coins or real money, and free-to-play slot machine games. of fruits on Google. Play and other platforms.

Nicki Karet, CEO of Sherbert Research, which worked on the study, said: “The gray area between online gambling and similar games is confusing, especially for younger children, and blurs the lines between what is and what is not a game. This gray area is even more confusing because gambling advertising, particularly online, often uses tonal images and expressions that can be seen as aimed directly at children, such as cartoon graphics, bright colors, and sounds.”

According to advertising rules, gambling companies are prohibited from using promotions aimed at children or that may be very attractive to children or young people. The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has upheld complaints against gambling companies that have used Santa Claus, Spider-Man and the board game mascot Monopoly in their adverts.

Companies are discouraged from using cartoons or animated figures to promote gambling, but this is not a complete ban. Online casino 32Red last week promoted a Fat Frogs online slots game on social media app X with an image of three cartoon frogs and piles of gold coins.

Dr Raffaello Rossi, a marketing professor at the University of Bristol who has researched the effects of gambling advertising on young people, said regulators had done “too little, too late” to tackle the huge volumes of online promotions that could attract children.

“We need to develop new advertising codes with researchers and technology experts that are designed to capture advertising on social media,” he said, adding that a ban on gambling advertising should be considered if the regulations were not working properly. Rossi said online games with loot boxes and social casino games with in-app purchases required stricter regulation. A report by the House of Commons culture, media and sport committee recommended in December that the government should review the case to ban children from social casino gaming.

skip past newsletter promotion

The Betting and Gaming Council said: “Our members impose strict age verification on all their products. [and] They have also introduced new rules controlling advertising on social media platforms.

“Recent Gambling Commission data published last year showed that young people’s exposure to gambling adverts and promotions had decreased compared to the previous year. “The government has previously stated that the research did not establish a causal link between exposure to advertising and the development of problem gambling.”

The ASA said it implemented restrictions on gambling advertising to protect children and was monitoring online gambling advertising, including the use of website scraping tools and avatar profiles to mirror the profiles of youth navigation.

The Department for Culture, Media and Sport said: “We pay close attention to emerging forms of gambling and similar products, including social casino games, to ensure there is appropriate regulation.”

Kindred Group, owner of the 32Red brand, was asked for comment.

You may also like