How do we protect children from online gambling advertisements?

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Online gambling is a growing industry, and Covid-19 has fueled the prevalence of online gambling. The network positions iGaming as a significantly safer option for visiting physical casinos. But, as some superheroes might say, great power comes with great responsibility, and it has recently been discovered that some of the largest iGaming companies feel scarce.

In August of this year, the Advertising Standards Authority (Advertising Standards Authority) revealed that there are four major gambling operators Violation Take steps to protect children from online advertising targeted at the adult market. This problem was discovered during a three-month scan of YouTube channels and other websites. Worryingly, there are as many as 70 different gambling advertisements on eight different websites used by teenagers under the age of 18. We don’t know the name of the offensive gambling operator because the ASA decided-like a firm but fair parent-to give them one last chance to reorganize before being named and humiliated.

A spokesperson for the regulator said: “The ASA is using technology to actively monitor online advertisements to help establish a culture of zero tolerance for age-restricted advertisements that appear on websites targeting children.” Use the sophisticated tools provided to them” but this may not be enough to motivate operators Target their ads responsibly.

This disclosure has not only brought more praise to the gambling industry than it should. Alcohol, junk food and e-cigarette advertisements were also placed on a series of children-oriented websites and YouTube channels by 35 advertisers. All this points to a fundamental problem, that is, age-restricted advertising is not particularly age-restricted after all.

In a very lucky moment, the Gaming and Gaming Committee, a trade organization representing the entire gaming industry, has now issued the ” The latest version Social Responsibility Advertising Industry Guidelines. It clearly states that “adult gambling products or product suppliers’ advertisements should never be directed at children.” It continues to require that “sponsored/paid social media ads must be targeted at consumers over 25 years of age” unless the social media platform can prove that its age verification system can prevent users under 18 from accessing content. In this case, “The Gambling and Gaming Commission may consider whether to reduce the age filter to over 18 years old based on the operator’s recommendation and in consultation with other third parties.

The new guidelines also vowed to prevent children from accidentally showing gambling advertisements when using search engines. The regulation states: “In order to improve the level of consumer protection, the industry will introduce a shared negative keyword blacklist, and no gambling ads will be placed against it. The blacklist will include keywords that indicate vulnerability and keywords related to children. “.

Of course, time must be determined whether these new measures will have a measurable impact and whether official repression will be required. The latter certainly has precedents. As early as 2019, when advertisements such as William Hill Vegas and Betfair Bingo popped up in the “Chaotic World of Rooney Sky World” app, the ASA took action . The ASA quickly banned advertising, and the gambling company terminated its relationship with Tapjoy, an affiliate company that placed advertisements on the app.

“This complaint is related to the behavior of third-party publishers who wrongly chose to accept adult advertising content in their apps (including content from Betfair),” Betfair says In a statement. “This shouldn’t have happened. Once we find an error, we will immediately stop working with the publisher.”

The case highlights the real difficulty of ensuring that the wrong advertisement does not flash in front of the wrong eyes. It is not a simple matter to accuse gambling companies of unscrupulously targeting young, vulnerable audiences. In the case of the Looney Tunes app crashing, this is a real mistake by Tapjoy, he said that the app was incorrectly classified as a setting suitable for mature advertising. Wrong algorithms and widespread cross-pollination on the Internet can cause advertising to become popular.

The ASA itself fully understands the complexity of this situation. In a recent statement, it stated: “Of course, gambling operators do not want their ads to appear on websites that are popular with children.” Many factors and third parties involved in online distribution of advertisements have been avoided.”

However, having said that, watchdogs show their own by threatening to humiliate companies that have recently been proven to violate the rules and stating/warning them to “establish a culture of zero tolerance for age-restricted advertisements that appear on age.” Teeth. Websites and YouTube channels are particularly popular among children.”

YouTube itself is taking more radical actions to protect young people on the is Recently announced The company will deploy AI that can automatically identify age-inappropriate videos, requiring more users to log in to their accounts to verify their age. However, it is fair to say that the responsibility lies not only with casino operators and social media platforms. Enforcing regulations and restrictions is part of the solution, but awareness at home (including parents and guardians) is certainly equally important.

There are some basic ways to stay vigilant and reduce the likelihood that the children you care for will be exposed to such advertisements. These include:

  • From their favorite YouTube channel to mobile apps, know what they are watching and playing. Show interest, talk about their interests publicly, watch and play together;
  • Paid to purchase the ad-free version of the application;
  • Make sure that the children you care for are under 13 and they use YouTube Kids instead of YouTube-there are multiple controls over which materials can be accessed.

As technology becomes smarter and regulations become stricter, age-restricted ads may appear less and less on inappropriate platforms, but we are far from there. In the meantime, everyone from ASA to gambling operator to child guardian should do their part.

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