Thursday, 26 November 2020

ASA Reports Drop In Number Of Gambling Ads On Child-Friendly Websites


The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has reported a decrease in the number of gambling advertisements published on child-friendly websites.

Publishing the results of its Second Online Marketing Sweep, the ASA, which recently banned an ad by Thebettingman, noted that the number of inappropriately placed online betting and gambling advertisements has “reduced significantly from 70 ads in the first sweep to 5 ads in the second sweep” between the July and September 2020 three-month period.

The ASA’s first online marketing sweep found that online gambling was the worst offender for breaching under-age advertising code. The ASA’s first sweep report found that four operators had displayed around 70 betting ads across eight child-friendly websites, exposing minors to gambling. The ASA also found that gambling advertisements had far more breaches than alcohol and cigarette industries.

As reported by SBC News, the ASA’s full report revealed that between July and September, only five betting ads from three gambling operators had breached code by being placed on six child-friendly websites, and the ASA found no breaches on YouTube channels, marking a gigantic improvement from the ASA’s initial marketing sweep.

The organisation has pledged to continue making its marketing sweeps but has stated that its concern has moved from gambling to the HFSS Food category (High in fat, salt or sugar) of which the ASA found more than 100 ad breaches by 35 advertisers which appeared on more than 20 child-friendly websites and on four YouTube channels.

ASA Chief Executive Guy Parker issued a statement on the organisation’s progress in tackling irresponsible advertising, saying: “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. 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.”

The ASA’s report comes after all members of the Betting, and Gaming Council (BGC) agreed to follow the organisation’s Sixth Industry Code For Socially Responsible Advertising, requiring all BGC member gambling operators ensure that their social media campaigns are targeted only at people aged over 25 and that all gambling-related content on YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook require age verification checks.

The organisation, which aims to drive up standards within the gambling industry, has been working closely with the UK Gambling Commission to implement new rules and regulations on the gambling industry. So far, this has included a whistle-to-whistle ban on gambling ads during televised sports, a new code of conduct on the design and play of video slots, and plenty more.

GambleAware Commissions Second Annual Gambling Treatment Survey

The ASA’s report comes just as GambleAware, a leading gambling charity in the UK, has commissioned a second annual survey on the demand and the take-up of treatment for gambling-related harm, as well as the barriers and facilitators regarding the accessing of treatment within the UK.

Known as the Annual Treatment and Support Demand Survey, the survey will be delivered by YouGov and will run alongside three other commissioned surveys; a quota survey by Yonda and two random probability surveys by NatCen and Kantar. The three surveys will feature the same questions to assess how different methodologies provide different estimates.

As reported by CasinoBeats, the sample size for the 2020 YouGov survey has been increased from 12,000 to 18,000 and GambleAware will report its findings by key demographics such as gender, ethnicity, geography, and age, and highlight differences between groups. The increased sample size will help by providing a better comparison of differences between geographical areas on a smaller scale and by including a boosted sample of ethnic minority communities.

GambleAware hopes that the results of the survey will help contribute to a better understanding of how to effectively estimate the impact of gambling harm across the United Kingdom while also providing better insight into the barriers and demand for treatment across the nation. Results from all three surveys will be released Spring next year.

Betting Shops And Horseracing After Lockdown

Also this week, the UK Government announced that all betting shops would be allowed to re-open in Tier 1 and 2 regions of England after lockdown ends on December 2nd, a decision which was praised by many within the industry including the BGC. In addition, the UK Government announced that a limited number of spectators would be allowed at racetracks in Tier 1 and 2 regions from December 3rd.

The British Horseracing Authority (BHA) praised the UK Government’s decision to allow crowds of up to 4,000 people at outdoor sporting venues in Tier 1 regions and crowds of up to 2,000 people at Tier 2 regions. The BHA has already confirmed that it’s working with the Racecourse Association (RCA) and the Horsemen’s Group (HG) to welcome back spectators and has confirmed that its top priority will be to ensure the safety of all visitors.

In addition to allowing spectators at venues, the UK Government has also confirmed that the racing industry has qualified to receive a £40 million winter relief loan which will be made available for racetrack and welfare maintenance.

In a statement to SBC News, BHA Chief Executive Nick Rust said: “We know the numbers are limited to begin with and not all venues will be allowed to admit spectators, but this is progress. I am confident that all our racegoers will follow the government’s public health guidelines when they return to racing, and this will allow us to increase the numbers attending. We have always said that racing will act responsibly and we all look forward to getting back on the track.”

Charlie Liverton, the Chief Executive of the RCA, said of the new announcements: “I am grateful to all those across the industry and government who have worked hard to get us this position and look forward to constructive conversations on owner attendance at racecourses. Owners and other participants have played a vital role in ensuring racing could continue behind closed doors and under tight restrictions. Their support continues to be valued enormously, and I very much hope all owners will be able to be back on course soon.”