ASA to monitor “small increase” in children’s exposure to gambling ads

By Peter Lynch

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) says it will “keep a close eye on” the “small increase” in children’s exposure to gambling ads on television.

Viewers under the age of 16 saw an average of 2.8 advertisements for gambling per week on TV in 2020, up from 2.5 in 2019.

Their exposure to lottery and scratch card ads also increased marginally from 2019, while exposure to bingo ads remained at similar levels to the three preceding years. Exposure to sports betting meanwhile remained at its lowest level ever since peaking in 2011.

UK advertising rules contain restrictions designed to significantly reduce children’s exposure to ads for age-restricted product categories, such as gambling and alcohol.

“The small increase in gambling ad exposure is something we will keep a close eye on – protecting children is at the heart of our regulation, and exposure must be appropriately limited,” said ASA Chief Executive Guy Parker.

“We will continue monitoring in this area, as well as online, to ensure that we appropriately limit children’s exposure to age-restricted ads wherever they appear.”

According to the ASA’s latest TV Ad Exposure Report, children in 2020 were exposed to less than half the ads they saw in 2008, from 219.5 ads per week to 103.7 respectively, the lowest in the 13-year period. Adults’ exposure to TV ads meanwhile increased by 2% from 2008 to 2020, from 343.5 ads per week to 349.6 respectively.

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