Majority of British Population Watched Gambling Ads on TV in 2020

A Gambling Commission report shows that most British people watched gambling advertisements last year. The regulator’s data shows 76% had exposure to betting adverts on TV.

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Majority of Brits Saw Betting Adverts During Lockdown © Pixabay.

New research conducted by the UK regulator has shown that 76% of the British adult population saw gambling adverts last year. The UK Gambling Commission report was based on a survey of 8,000 aged 18 or over.

The research, performed by London-based Yonder Consulting, was nationally representative and included respondents in Wales, Scotland, and England.

Participants were interviewed during March, June, September or December last year during lockdown to assess the prevalence of gambling-related advertising throughout the pandemic.

Of those who responded, TV advertisements were the highest medium for exposure to gambling commercials, with 76% stating they had seen at least one. 67% of those surveyed stated they witnessed gambling sponsorships on the TV, radio or a podcast, and 60% said they had seen gambling sponsorships on sports merchandise.

Medium and percentage of those that had seen them during the lockdown:

  • Gambling advertisements on the TV 76%
  • Gambling advertisements on the radio 41%
  • Gambling advertisements in newspapers 45%
  • Gambling advertisements on posters/ billboards 56%
  • Gambling advertisements on social media websites 49%
  • Gambling adverts on live streaming or video sharing platforms 45%
  • Gambling adverts sent directly to you via email, text message or app push notification 37%
  • Gambling adverts shown within app games (or similar) 48%
  • Gambling advertisements online other platforms (websites) 56%
  • Gambling sponsorships on the TV, radio or podcast 67%
  • Gambling sponsorships on sports merchandise 60%
  • Gambling sponsorships in sports venues 59%
  • Associations with sporting competitions 56%

The results showed that gambling advertising and sponsorships are widespread, and the majority of those that took part in the survey reported seeing them, regardless of their gender, age or if they gambled or not.

However, of those who responded that they had viewed adverts more recently (at least once a week), a higher percentage are men (88% compared to 83% of women). Age also played a part, with 83% of 18 to 24-year-old seeing gambling adverts, compared to 88% in the 55 to 64 age bracket.

Perhaps not surprisingly, the medium that respondents saw gambling advertisements on depended largely on what age group they belonged to. Those aged between 18 to 24 much more likely to see adverts online. Whereas older generations are likelier to be exposed to adverts from gambling companies on traditional means such as TV and radio. This directly correlates with Ofcom’s Technology Tracker data, which shows that those aged 55+ are less likely to have access to the internet.

The research also asked if they follow or interact with gambling companies on social media.

17% of those involved in the survey didn’t use any social media or video streaming platforms. Of the respondents that did, 16% followed a gambling company. The most popular platform was Facebook (11%). Others include YouTube (6%), Twitter (6%), Instagram (6%), Snapchat (3%), TikTok (1%) and Twitch (1%).

In releasing the findings of the study, a UKGC statement said: “The effects of gambling advertising may have been potentially exacerbated by the pandemic, where many people have been at home more, watching more live TV, spending more time online and on social media, and have seen their financial circumstances change.

“We should be clear – our official statistics on gambling participation don’t indicate an increase in gambling through the pandemic period, in fact, the opposite. Similarly, we aren’t seeing an increase in problem gambling rates at a population level.

“Nonetheless, all who are interested in gambling-related trends should be alert to the potential risks of ad exposure to different population groups,” it added.

The full report can be viewed via the Gambling Commission website.

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