Kids Seeing Fewest Gambling TV Ads in UK Since 2008

  • The UK’s Advertising Standards Authority revealed the 2019 data in a new report
  • In 2019, children saw an average of 2.5 gambling ads weekly compared to a peak of 4.4 ads weekly in 2013
  • A primary driver for the decrease is the transition away from television to on-demand and online media
Little boy watching television
New data from the ASA shows that children’s exposure to gambling ads on television in the UK is at its lowest rate since 2008. [Image: Shutterstock.com]

An encouraging improvement

The UK’s Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has published data showing that the exposure to gambling advertising by children under 18-years old is currently at its lowest levels since 2008. 

This new data was released as part of an ASA report titled “Children’s exposure to age-restricted TV Ads: 2019 update.” The report details that children between the ages of four and 15 were exposed to 115.9 age-restricted television commercials each week in 2019, down sharply from a high of 229.3 weekly ads in 2013. 

children saw 4.4 gambling-related ads each week during the peak in 2013 compared to 2.5 per week in 2019

When it comes to gambling specifically, children saw 4.4 gambling-related ads each week during the peak in 2013 compared to 2.5 per week in 2019. This is the lowest rate since back in 2008, when the figure sat at 2.2.

The exposure was slightly higher for the 10-15 year-old age bracket at 2.6 ads per week, compared to the 2.3 ads per week for children aged 4-9. 

Proactive monitoring paying off

ASA chief executive Guy Parker spoke about the findings, highlighting the decrease in children’s exposure to gambling and alcohol-related commercials in 2019.

Parker added: “We will continue our proactive monitoring to make sure this remains the case for TV ads as well as carrying out further monitoring online so that we limit children’s exposure to age-restricted ads wherever they appear.”

Most of the gambling television ads seen by children are for scratch cards, lottery, and bingo offerings. Trailing those are commercials for casinos and sports betting.

Shift in viewing habits

One of the main reasons for the decreasing levels of exposure is the changing media habits of children. On-demand television and online videos have become much more popular in recent years, steering children away from traditional television. 

The ASA has also been proactive in protecting children from seeing gambling ads when they are online. Different types of technology are used to quickly identify any potential problems.

A number of internet gambling operators have been fined by the ASA in recent years for targeting children with online ads.