Gambling Companies continue to win over children
Although there have been strong moves by the Government and the Advertising Standards Authority to protect children and young people from harm and exploitation with regards to foods that are high in fat, salt and sugar, e-cigarettes and social media bullying, it would appear that the gambling industry is still largely ignoring the trend for social responsibility.
The number of TV and online gambling adverts is on the increase, with a Daily Mail study found that there were 26 live football matches shown on BT Sport and Sky Sports during the Christmas period, and each match had an average of 12 adverts from gaming companies, including the pre and post-match discussions. In addition, 90% of the ads were aired before the 9pm watershed that CAP requires gambling ads be shown after.
A recent survey of 11-16 year olds by the Gambling Commission discovered that 80% had seen gambling advertising on TV, 12% had gambled that week and 11% had played gambling style games online, all such playing is totally against both the law and claimed ethos of the gaming companies. The connection between advertising and under-age playing is definitely there and needs to be acted upon. The situation is made worse by the direct sponsorship of football clubs by gambling companies and the huge visibility this gives them with a younger audience– this year exactly half of the Premier League teams bear the logo for an online casino or bookmaker on their shirts (compared to just 3 in 2013).
In October 2017 the ASA issued fresh guidance on the use of cartoon characters by betting companies after The Sunday Times reported that many online games were using child-friendly names such as Moon Princess or Jack and the Beanstalk and this, combined with play free or low-cost online games without verification, could make gambling attractive to children, those under 16.
Gambling charities feel that that gambling is becoming normalised and children are increasingly at risk of becoming hooked on gambling at a young age leading to a real crisis in the future. As Jeremy Stern, the MD of PromoVeritas, a leading marketing compliance firms, says, “We believe that there needs to be stricter legislation of gambling advertising. Not just the content, but the placement. HFSS rules ban the placing of adverts where 25% of the audience is likely to be under 12 and a similar rule, for under 16’s, needs to be applied to cover gambling too, if we are to protect the younger generation from financial and mental harm”.
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