ASA Finds Gambling-Related Breaches in Internet Sweep Down 93%

The Advertising Standards Agency found the instances of gambling-related advertisements being shown to children was down by 93%. The ASA monitored websites that are aimed for children between July and September this year and found five breaches, down from 70 previously.

The UK’s advertising regulator, the Advertising Standards Agency has stated that the number of gambling adverts that were displayed to children dropped by 93%. In the second sweep of children-facing websites, the agency found five different betting adverts were shown, down from 70, belonging to four operators in the first sweep in Q2.

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Exposure to Gambling-Related Adverts Down 93% ©Pixabay.

The five different gambling themed adverts discovered in this sweep belonged to three different operators which the regulator does not name in the report. The ASA did, however, confirm that none of the adverts belonged to operators who had previously broken the rules.

They also stated that none of the offending gambling advertisements appeared on YouTube.

The ASA chief executive Guy Parker said: “We’re encouraged to see advertisers, most notably in the gambling sector, taking steps to target their age-restricted online ads responsibly. We expect that trend to continue, particularly amongst HFSS advertisers, throughout the remainder of this project and beyond.”

Adding:

We’ll continue working with advertisers and taking action where necessary to build a culture of zero tolerance for age-restricted ads appearing on websites aimed at children. Guy Parker, ASA chief executive

In a foreword to the results of the monitoring the ASA state that advertisers who are placing age-restricted ads online are required, under the Advertising Code, to target their ads away from child audiences. Therefore, to ensure compliance, the authority undertook what it describes as a “CCTV style” operation to identify offending adverts.

Alongside gambling-related adverts, they were also monitoring for alcohol, e-cigarettes and tobacco, slimming and weight control products and food and soft drinks classified as high in fat, salt or sugar (HFSS products). Over three months, the ASA used monitoring tools to capture adverts on 50 websites and YouTube, which the agency stated attracted a disproportionately high child audience.

They recorded the number of offending adverts, took follow-up action with the producer of the advert and warned the advertisers to review and to amend their practices to ensure no further instances occur.

The ASA reported;

  • Gambling: Five different betting ads from 3 gambling operators appeared on six websites and 0 YouTube channels
  • Alcohol: 6 different alcohol ads from 4 brands appeared on two websites and 3 YouTube channels
  • Weight reduction: 14 different weight reduction ads from 2 advertisers appeared on eight websites and 1 YouTube channel
  • HFSS: 102 different HFSS ads from 35 advertisers appeared on 27 websites and 4 YouTube channels

The ASA highlighted the improvements seen in regards to the gambling industry and said it hoped that other industries would follow suit. It highlighted the fact that many gambling companies had been contacted before this campaign started and had been given time to amend their practices. Therefore it was confident this downward trend would be mirrored in other sectors.

A full list of the websites that ASA monitored for the report can be found on the Advertising Standards Authority website.

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