Regulators have sent letters to more than 450 online gambling sites to immediately amend or remove advertisements appealing to children. William Hill and Bet365 are few to be named.
The joint letter sent by the Gambling Commission, the Advertising Standards Authority, the Committee of Advertising Practice and the Remote Gambling Association said the companies needed to advertise responsibly. The Regulators said its “unacceptable” to exploit children by advertising brightly colored and appealing cartoon characters. Tim Miller, executive director at Gambling Commission said new technology created “opportunities but also new risks”.
Fluffy Favorites, Pirate Princess, Piggy Payout, Jack and the Beanstalk are the few prominent ones. Even though some games are free to play, authorities say there is a risk of children developing gambling habits in the future.
The Committee of Advertising Practice code clearly states, gambling activities exhibited in a way that could appeal to under-18s must not be advertised. The letter was particularly meant for freely accessible ads for ‘play-for-free’ and ‘play-for-money’ games. It also specified for those websites or the third-party media that included all graphics and images. Even though the percentage has reduced since 2011, the latest survey done by the Gambling Commission reveals that 450,000 children in Wales and England aged 11-15 gamble each week, with 9000 of these to be seen as ‘problem gamblers’
The letter also said strict actions would be taken against those companies who fail to adhere to the Advertising Standards Authority Guidelines.