Children’s exposure to betting ads lowest for 10 years

Children saw nearly 40% fewer gambling ads in 2017 than they did in 2013 according to the latest report from the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA). The report found that children on average see 2.8 adverts for gambling products a week.

The report also found that the levels of children’s exposure to sports-related gambling ads in 2017 were on average of 0.4 ads per week (13% of all gambling ads seen by children) way down on the 2011 figures of 1.0 ads per week (31.5% of all gambling ads seen by children). The ASA report said that this was the lowest level of exposure over the ten year period.

Advertising Standards Authority Chief Executive Guy Parker said: “Protecting children has always been at the heart of our regulation.  These findings show that in recent years, children’s exposure to TV ads for alcohol, gambling and food and soft drink products high in fat, salt or sugar is declining. We’re not complacent though and we’ll continue to actively monitor and report on this important area of work.  Our next focus will be to examine whether the rules are working in the same way online and we’ll report on that later in 2019.”

According to the report, Children’s exposure to all TV ads reduced by 29.7% from a peak of 229.3 ads in 2013 to a low of 161.2 ads in 2017. Over the same period, children’s exposure to gambling ads decreased by 37.3%. This suggests that the decline in children’s exposure to all TV ads might account for over three-quarters of the reduction in children’s exposure to TV ads for gambling products. Adults’ exposure levels have not declined appreciably, however, remaining at an average of 14.2 ads per week. This suggests that the overall increase in gambling advertising is being directed away from children considerably and toward adult Audiences.”

By setting out the actual level of children’s exposure to TV ads for alcohol, gambling and HFSS products, the ASA says it is seeking to better inform the debate about the effectiveness and the proportionality of the rules that currently restrict their scheduling and content.

Other highlights from the report include:

  • Children’s exposure to gambling ads, relative to adults’, has fallen year-on-year from 39% in 2008 to 20% in 2017. That means children see, on average, about one TV ad for gambling for every five seen by adults in 2017
  • Gambling ads made up less than 2% of all the TV ads that children saw on average every year between 2008 and 2017; that equates to approximately 65.2 seconds per week
  • The majority of TV ads for gambling that children have seen since 2011 are ads for bingo, lottery and scratchcards
  • Children’s exposure to ads for sports-betting has decreased from an average of one ad per week in 2011 to 0.4 ads per week in 2017

Given that the level of exposure of gambling ads to children has been falling (particularly for sports betting) it could be questioned whether the ‘whistle to whistle’ voluntary ad ban coming in next season is necessary. This issue will be explored at SBC’s Betting on Football conference in 19-22 March at Stamford Bridge in a session entitled: Sponsorship & Advertising – how much is too much? and featuring input from John Hagan, Chair at the Industry Group for Responsible Gambling (IGRG), Martin Lycka, Director of Regulatory Affairs at GVC Group, Mark Davies, Global Head of Partnerships at Swansea City and Philip Canavan, Director at agency SEM Global.

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