Report Finds Youngsters Attracted to Gambling Adverts on Social Media

  • Youngsters are interacting with gambling adverts on social media
  • Linked with the rise in popularity of esports such as Fortnite
  • Esports market could be worth up to $1.65bn by 2020
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New report claims children are still being targeted by operators for esports-based gambling adverts. [Image: Shutterstock]

Children enticed by gambling ads

A new report has re-opened the discussion over gambling adverts and how they may entice youngsters to the bookmarkers.

The Biddable Youth report suggests that despite strict regulations, some firms are actively flouting tough new rules, especially when it comes to esports tournaments.

Following the report published by a think tank at the University of Bristol, experts are calling for further age verification tools to stop youngsters viewing gambling ads after finding that up to a quarter of children under 16 commented on betting odds for computer game tournaments via Twitter.

Esports an attractive offering for youngsters

Esports is a relatively new market for bookmakers, but it links in to the successful youth culture which has seen teenagers win large amounts of cash in the Fortnite World Cup. It is estimated that the market will be worth £1.36bn ($1.65bn) by the end of 2020.

The report analyzed over 888,000 tweets related to betting over nine months in 2018.

Created by think tank Demos, the report analyzed over 888,000 tweets related to betting over nine months in 2018. Results show that around 28% of replied or retweets to betting tweets in the UK focussing on esports were from children under 16. Worldwide, that figure then rose to 45%.

Critically for betting firms, the GambleAware-funded report found that around 74% of esports tweets did not comply with current advertising regulations.

Results showed that the adverts either encouraged gambling at unsociable hours or presented betting as a way to gain a source of income. They also broke the rule that persons under the age of 25 must not be shown in a gambling advert.

“Surprise” at results

Professor Agnes Nairn, from the University of Bristol, said:

We were really surprised at the number of children actively engaging with esports gambling accounts.”

She went on to highlight how this type of behavior can fly under a parent’s radar. She explained: “It’s online, where parents won’t see it, and it’s using clever content marketing such as amusing gifs, memes, pictures and funny stories, designed to appeal to and implicitly influence young people.”

In its conclusion, the report recommended that more should be done by social media platforms and technology companies in regards to age verification tools. This would ensure that adverts were not displayed to all. Regulators have also been passed adverts which may have broken strict rules around advertising to children.

The Remote Gambling Association (RGA) also commented on the impact of technology and how they are investigating. In a statement, the association said: “We are examining online advertising to strengthen protections for those underage. Age-gating for social media advertising will play an important role.”