GambleAware: ASA report ‘encouraging’ but ‘much more to be done’ on betting ads

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) published its report into children’s exposure to age restricted advertising yesterday focussed on gambling and alcohol products,  demonstrating a decline for both.

Issuing its own update today, GambleAware has described the findings of the research as ‘encouraging’, but added that children were still exposed to be gambling marketing more than alcohol, and that it would ‘welcome further efforts’. 

The ASA’s report showed that the number of gambling commercials seen by children on a weekly basis fell to 2.2 in 2021 from three in 2010, marking a decline in exposure to TV betting ads of ‘just over a quarter’.

This is indicative of a ‘general downward trend’ according to the ASA, but GambleAware has argued that more efforts are needed to further reduce this exposure, whilst the authority has also noted that more children and young people consume online media than in the past. 

“Whilst it is encouraging to see a drop in the number of gambling adverts viewed by children, there is still much more to be done to prevent children and young people being exposed to these ads,” said Zoe Osmund, GambleAware CEO.

“Unfortunately, children’s exposure to gambling adverts hasn’t fallen at the same rate as children’s overall TV viewing and overall TV advert exposure, which means that gambling adverts are becoming increasingly prominent among the adverts that children do see on TV. 

“By contrast, the much larger reduction in children’s exposure to alcohol adverts shows that reduced exposure is possible. We would welcome further efforts to explore what lessons can be learned from that and applied to gambling advertising.”

Moving forward, the ASA has detailed plans to use Avatar technology to simulate children’s online profiles in order to gain insights on viewed ads, as well as conduct quarterly ‘CCTV-style monitoring sweeps’ to identify any age-restricted commercials in violation of the rules. 

Additionally, the authority will conduct its 100 Children Report, involving a panel of 100 11-17 year old children drawn from across the UK, whose views will be leveraged to ‘take action’ against age-restricted ads ‘served inappropriately’ to children’s websites and social media accounts.

Guy Parker, ASA Chief Executive, also acknowledged that ‘children’s media consumption habits are changing significantly’, and so the organisation will publish a second report on social media and internet advertising later this year.

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