Thursday, 16 May 2019

Social Media: A Rise In The Number Of Gambling Advertisements?

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There’s been a crackdown on gambling advertisements across television, but it seems social media has been left unscathed.

It’s estimated that around 3.48 billion people use social media, a 9% increase from the number of people using it last year. With so many people using social media regularly, it’s no wonder so many businesses have used social platforms to promote their products or content.

According to a report by Hootsuite, around seven million businesses use paid advertising on Facebook and around two million businesses use paid advertising on Instagram. In addition, over two million advertisers use stories on Facebook, Instagram and Facebook Messenger.

With that in mind, I’ve noticed an increase in the number of gambling advertisements appearing on social media channels, particularly Facebook and Instagram. The ads were first spotted on Facebook several months ago, highlighting new special offers from online casinos such as Casumo and LeoVegas, but I’ve since spotted them on Instagram too.


The ads on the photo-sharing platform appear through stories where they promote a new welcome offer or a special slot game with links to their websites where customers can register. These advertisements, which promoted sites such as Party Casino and Guts, have sparked worry that they may appeal to minors due to the large number of under-18s using the platform but the UK Gambling Commission has policies which prohibit these firms from airing ads to underage users.

In fact, under the UK Gambling Commission, licensees are prohibited from appealing to minors (By featuring animated characters) and featuring anyone under the age of 25 in adverts.

However, each social media platform has its own policies regarding gambling advertisements which ban certain promotions from appearing.

Gambling On Social Media

After some research, I’ve found that Facebook and Instagram’s policy states that the platforms can only promote online gambling with prior written permission and that said adverts must only target people over the age of 18 in the jurisdictions where permission has been granted.

LeoVegas Ad

Meanwhile, ads prohibited from appearing on Facebook and Instagram include the portrayal or encouragement of irresponsible gambling behaviour, presenting gambling as a source of income or an alternative to employment and content that uses currency symbols unrelated to a specific monetary amount.

Twitter bans advertisements for brick-and-mortar casinos worldwide except the UK. In the United Kingdom, advertisements promoting online casinos, sports betting, bingo and lottery can appear on Twitter provided the advertisers are licensed by the UK Gambling Commission.

Still, this means that you are susceptible to these ads, even if you have no connecting to the gambling industry or any search history related to it. Leading gambling charity BeGambleAware, which funds the research and treatment of problem gambling, has suggested ways you can limit the number of gambling ads appearing on your social platforms. However, this may still not be enough as in the past few weeks I’ve spotted ads appearing on London buses promoting a new welcome offer for NetBet Casino.

The UK Gambling Commission has slowly been cracking down on its online gambling regulations by tightening its rules and introducing immediate age verification checks for gamers playing with real money and those playing demo games. Meanwhile, the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has been banning ads for breaching its codes, including a Monopoly Casino game ad which was banned for featuring the Monopoly mascot which children can find appealing as well as a Paddy Power advert featuring Rhodri Giggs which was found to be “glamorising gambling”.

As the rules and regulations from the UK Gambling Commission and ASA tighten on online gambling, will we see a crackdown on the number of ads appearing on social media?

If you spot gambling advertisements appearing on your social media platforms too, let us know on Twitter @UKCasinoNews