Advertising fuels rise in child gamblers
In November 2018, a UK Gambling Commission audit found that the number of problem gamblers aged 11 to 16 had quadrupled to 55,000 over two years, 70,000 children were at risk, and 450,000, or one in seven, children aged 11 to 16 bet regularly, spending, on average, £16 a week on fruit machines, bingo, betting shops, and online games, all of which are illegal for under-18s. Two-thirds of children told auditors they had seen gambling ads on TV; close to a million had been exposed to gambling through "loot boxes" - that is, chance-based items for purchase in video games or smartphone apps. Also, the gambling charity GambleAware found that betting companies had increased their marketing spend by 56% between 2014 and 2018 to £1.5 billion, all but £234 million of which was spent online, a total that is seven times the marketing spend of the UK's leading advertiser, Procter & Gamble. A study by Regulus Partners found that one in eight children aged 11 to 16 followed a gambling company on social media, and that those who do are three times as likely to spend money on gambling.
Writer: Press Association; Rob Davies