Watchdogs issue letter against gambling adverts targeting minors

Four

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gambling Industry watchdog organisations have issued a joint letter to gambling operators across the UK asking them to withdraw any advertisements that might appeal to children from their websites, following a Sunday Times investigation.

The UK Gambling Commission, the Committee of Advertising Practice, the Advertising Standards Authority and the Remote Gambling Association have jointly written an open letter in response to the investigation, which alleges that a number of online gaming brands are using children’s story characters such as Peter Pan and Jack and the Beanstalk to sell their services to minors.

In its letter the organisations state that: “Recent articles in the UK national press have highlighted a number of freely accessible ads on gambling operator websites, which feature images that are likely to appeal particularly to under 18s. This is unacceptable. “

“Gambling operators are required by the UK Advertising Codes and the conditions of their Gambling Commission licence to advertise responsibly with particular regard to the protection of under 18s and others who are vulnerable to being harmed or exploited by gambling advertising.”

The Sunday Times investigation report raised concerns over the fact that stakes on the aforementioned games range from 1p to £600, and can be played for free without registration or any age verification checks. The UKGC’s Executive Director of Corporate Affairs and Research Tim Miller responded to the investigation by saying that: “This clash between the world of computer games and the world of gambling is just one example of the need for continuous vigilance when keeping children safe online.”

A 2016 report by the UK Gambling Commission, found that nearly half a million children have been found to gamble in England and Wales every week, with 6% of 11 to 15-year-olds have gambled online using funds from their parents’ accounts.

In its letter, the watchdogs go on to add that gambling operators “must immediately amend or remove any freely accessible ads on your website or in third party media space that are likely to appeal particularly to under 18s. (This includes affiliate ads that promote your company and its products.)”


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