The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has caught five gambling firms breaking strict rules that ban brands from targeting children with online gambling adverts.
The ASA created a number of child ‘Avatars’. These are online profiles that copy children’s online web browsing to see the type of adverts that children are seeing when they are online.
Over the two weeks the ASA monitored the activity the regulator identified ads by forty-three different operators all appearing on freely accessible websites such as You Tube, and even more that twenty websites aimed at children.
Of those companies the Advertising Standards Authority found five brands that had broken the UK advertising code, which prohibits gambling ads being targeted at those aged under 18. Those brands are Vikings Video Slot, Redbet, Multilotto, Unibet and PlayOjo. The main culprit was named as Vikings Video Slot, which accounted for almost half the ads.
While the gambling firms accepted they had broken the rules, they stated that the reason was due to mistakes make by third-party companies hired to run campaigns. Unibet were keen to state that they did not accept businesss from those who are under 18 and did not “knowingly derive revenue” from underage gambling.
Online ads now come under the same scrutiny as television adverts and the ASA’s creation of these online avatars is an important piece of technology used to expose brands that are breaking the rules. The watchdog is exploring whether it can extend monitoring to sites that require a log in such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.