The gambling industry has been under fire from many quarters during the pandemic lockdown, but there was some good news for the sector this week, courtesy of the Advertising Standards Authority.
Figures from the ASA reveal that the extent of children’s exposure to gambling advertising has dropped back to 2008 levels following concerted efforts to tackle the problem.
In their 2019 update, the ASA noted that children saw 2.5 TV gambling ads per week on average, a drop to the 2008 and 2009 levels, when they were found to be seeing 2.2. and 2.7 gambling ads per week, respectively. It is a significant decline from the 2013 peak figure of 4.4 per week.
Relative to adults, the ASA found that children’s exposure stood at 17.2% which is the lowest figure yet recorded for the twelve-year period of the ASA monitoring. This equates to children seeing just under one gambling ad for every five seen by adults. As a percentage of all ads seen, gambling came to 2.1%, down slightly from 2018’s 2.2%.
But the ASA warned that although the decline in television gambling ad exposure was a positive, it had been partially impacted by changing media consumption habits. They note that children have been moving away from television to online media, including social and on-demand media, and the advertising watchdog warned that the industry had to be vigilant over the risks.
The ASA themselves have begun to employ new technology that enables them to be more proactive in monitoring children’s exposure to gambling advertising. They have also been working with the UK Gambling Commission on a number of areas, including a new agreement that pay per click advertising can only be aimed at those aged 25 and over.
Speaking about the findings, the Chief Executive of the ASA, Guy Parker, said that the result were positive, but that they will continue to be vigilant:
“Our latest report shows that children’s exposure to TV ads for alcohol and gambling products remains low. We will continue our proactive monitoring to make sure this remains the case for TV ads as well as carrying out further monitoring online so that we limit children’s exposure to age-restricted ads wherever they appear.”