Gambling adverts banned from websites and computer games popular with children

Gambling operators will also have to stop using celebrities under 25 in their promotions

Sarah Young@sarah_j_young
Wednesday 13 February 2019 11:31
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Gambling ads to be banned from child-friendly sites and games

The Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP) has published new advertising standards designed to protect children from irresponsible gambling adverts.

Under the new rules, gambling adverts will no longer be allowed to appear on websites or computer games that are popular with children.

Gambling operators will also have to ensure that the majority of the audience of any social media influencer they work with are over 18 and stop using celebrities who appear to be under 25 in their promotions.

“Playing at the margins of regulatory compliance is a gamble at the best of times, but for gambling advertisers it’s particularly ill-advised, especially when the welfare of children is at stake,” says director of the Committees of Advertising Practice, Shahriar Coupal.

“Our new standards respond to the latest evidence and lessons from ASA rulings, and require that greater care is taken in the placement and content of gambling ads to ensure they are not inadvertently targeted at under 18s.”

The rules, which come into effect on 1 April 2019, follow a review of the evidence on advertising’s impact on under-18s, which was last carried out in 2014.

The review included previous complaints to the ASA on gambling adverts from the likes of Coral and William Hill which were deemed to be appealing to children.

In all cases, the ASA ruled that the ads should not appear again as they were and enforced stricter regulations for bookmakers to follow.

The new guidelines follow a recent study which revealed the number of child gamblers had risen to more than 50,000 in the UK.

The Gambling Commission audit found that the number of problem gamblers aged 11 to 16 rose to 55,000 between 2016-2018.

It also found that 70,000 youngsters were at risk and that 450,000 children bet regularly, the equivalent of one in seven children aged 11 to 16.

The Bishop of St Albans the Right Reverend Alan Smith branded the findings as a “generational scandal”.

“Today's findings by the Gambling Commission makes worrying reading and serves as a warning to parents,” he said.

”After years of progress, it seems the rates of children gambling is creeping back up. These figures suggest 450,000 11-16-year-olds have gambled in the past week - that is deeply concerning.

“We need to start taking the dangers of gambling seriously - 55,000 children classed as problem gamblers is a generational scandal."

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