Online Casino Adverts make mark on children

A recent survey, which was sponsored by the National Lottery Commission and conducted by Ipsos MORI (a survey organisation) and the University of Salford’s Centre for the Study of Gambling, has revealed children’s attitudes to gambling offline and on the internet at an online casino or bingo website.

The survey questioned the attitudes and experiences of 9,000 children aged 12-15 with regards to gambling and found that on the whole, less children were likely to purchase National Lottery tickets, scratch cards and play casino games. The survey reported:

“Rates of problem gambling have fallen since 2005-06: 2% children were identified as problem gamblers compared with 3.5% in 2005-06. It is likely that this drop reflects falling levels of gambling among children over time, particularly on potentially more addictive forms of gambling such as slot machines.”

However, the survey also found that children questioned were now more than ever aware of television and online advertising, with 78% suggesting that they could recall seeing an internet pop up or television advert relating to an online casino, bingo, or sportsbook website. Furthermore, children who had gambled in the past seven days were more likely to remember seeing a gaming orientated advertisement, with 82% able to recall viewing an advert. The report proposes that these findings “highlight the value of continued vigilance in monitoring gambling advertisements to limit their potential appeal to children.”

The Advertising Standards Agency (ASA), which regulates gambling adverts in order to protect the vulnerable and children, has a long history of banning adverts which breach the ASA’s ad code. Most notably, the ASA banned a series of Intercasino’s television advertising campaigns “as the slapstick humour in (the) ads was likely to appeal to children and young persons.”

However, critics have suggested that the ASA’s gambling advertisement legislation is far too strict. When a series of Ladbrokes ads were banned, the managing director of the betting firm suggested the ASA’s ruling “an example of political correctness going too far”. As the National Lottery Commission’s recent survey shows though, the ASA need to be strict, and perhaps introduce even stronger legislation, in order to protect children from gambling.