Technology 2 min read

U.K. Watchdog Discovers Online Gambling Ads Targeting Children

Stokkete /

Stokkete /

The U.K. Advertising Standards Authority has reportedly discovered online gambling ads being shown to minors on the web. According to their report, five online gaming firms were involved in the marketing scheme which is strictly prohibited under the U.K. law.

The authorities allegedly created some dummy children profiles to simulate the online browsing habits of children online. For two weeks, the accounts were used to monitor the kind of adverts children are exposed to while browsing the Internet.

During the monitoring period, the ASA was able to identify ads from 43 gambling operators on sites that can be easily accessed by kids. It includes 20 YouTube channels and over 20 children sites.

Out of all the gambling companies exposed by ASA, five brands – Multilotto, Vikings Video Slot, Redbet, Unibet, and PlayOjo – reportedly broke the U.K advertising code which bans all online gambling ads targeting individuals under the age of 18.

Online Gaming Ads Targeting Children

While none of the five online gambling companies were found to be advertising on YouTube, their ads were on sites usually frequented by children. 11 of the said sites had 23 uniques ads shown over a hundred times in total. Vikings Video Slot ads accounted for almost half of the unique ads, making the company the biggest violator of all.

In a statement, Unibet responded to the findings released by ASA:

“The advert was served by a third party without the control or knowledge of Kindred/Unibet and in breach of the contractual terms in place. The advert was served due to a fault in that third party’s systems and the fault has been addressed. The advert did not lead to under-18 gambling.”

The U.K.’s ruling against children-targeted online gambling ads came into effect last February, citing its enforcement to begin this April. The ASA had not clarified when exactly it ran its study, but it’s highly likely to have been made last month. If that’s the case, operators who violated the rule are more likely to receive warnings instead of severe sanctions at the moment.

Read More: How AI Takes The “Luck” Out Of Gambling

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Chelle Fuertes

Chelle is the Product Management Lead at INK. She's an experienced SEO professional as well as UX researcher and designer. She enjoys traveling and spending time anywhere near the sea with her family and friends.

Comments (3)
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  1. Profile Image
    John Usrey April 06 at 8:51 am GMT

    Ads make their way into kids’ games. Their tactics are emotionally manipulative.

    • Profile Image
      Paul Weidner April 07 at 10:17 am GMT

      Too many children are hooked on gambling. We need prevention measures to give children the resilience to gambling.

      • Profile Image
        John Usrey April 15 at 10:39 am GMT

        To ban gambling is the best solution.

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