United Kingdom – gambling operators have recently been given exceptional praise,2 especially from the regions advertising regulator. The reason for this praise is because they have successfully reduced the number of gambling advertisements on websites that are made for children.
Last week, ASA – the Advertising Standards Authority – released its latest report from a program they run whose primary task is to sweep the internet for any sign of age-restricted ad showing on kiddie’s media.
In the last report which came out during the summer, the search carried out by ASA on fifty kid-friendly and websites YouTube channels showed about 159 instances of age-restricted adverts.
Unfortunately, about half of these ads had something to do with gambling. The other products include weight control products, e-cigarettes/tobacco, alcohol and foods that contain lots of fat, sugar or salt – HFSS.
In the watchdog’s most recent report, they scanned more than 7 YouTube channels and 49 sites from July – September 2020. Their scan showed about 127 age-restricted adverts posted by forty-four various advertisers.
The most surprising fact of all is that just 5 gambling adverts came from 3 operators and they were seen on 5 websites and none was found on YouTube channels.
By contrast, the regulator discovered there were 6 alcohol adverts, fourteen weight-loss ads and more than 102 promos for HFFs – even though half of the ads from this group contained technical breaches. This means that the product would have little or no appeal to kids. Example of these products are olive oil and cooking sauces.
The ASA was also impressed with the noticeable drop in gambling adverts. This decline was quite encouraging to the regulator as the sector had a major influence in their previous reports.
Also, the ASA noted that all the gambling operators they reached out to in April during the lockdown which was forced by the pandemic did not go against their agreement of not showing ads to people outside their target audience.
That’s not all, the ASA was quite impressed with the response of the gambling industry to the point that it expressed optimism that this impressive trend will be emulated by other sectors in forthcoming reports.
Guy Parker, ASA’s CEO said his firm would keep working with several groups in the industry to take action when necessary. This is to create a culture of where there is zero-tolerance for any advertiser that exposes kids to age-restricted promos.
In all likelihood, the traditional UK media who hound betting operators anytime the ASA finds a fault with their ads have been surprisingly quiet. Nothing has been heard from them since the report was released by the regulator.
There is every chance this is a momentary oversight, which could be because of more pressing issues caused by the pandemic.