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ASA clamps down on gambling ads aimed at children

Tyrone Stewart

Kid on tabletThe Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has joined forces with its sister organisation the Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP), The Gambling Commission, and the Remote Gambling Association (RGA) to order the removal of online gambling ads that may appeal to kids.

In a letter sent to hundreds of gambling firms, including major players like William Hill, Paddy Power and Bet365, the group dub the use of colourful cartoon and comic book images, animals, child-orientated references, and names such as ‘Piggy Payout’ or ‘Fluffy Favourites’, in ads as “unacceptable” due to the likelihood that they will appeal to children.

The ruling follows an investigation conducted by The Times, which revealed that gambling operators had been using a loophole that allowed them to promote games that appeal to children without breaching any rules. Stakes on these games were found to range from 1p to £600.

The gambling companies that have received the letter have been told they must immediately amend or remove ads that could appeal to under 18s. If they do not do this, they have been warned that the CAP compliance team will consider imposing sanctions.

Of course, this isn’t the first time that the advertising practices of betting companies have come under fire. Earlier this year, an investigation by the Guardian found that bookmakers were using third-party companies to harvest people’s data, and then use this to target people on low incomes and those who had stopped gambling with ads.

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