Online Operators Ordered to Remove Ads for Games Aimed at Children
Britain’s efforts to protect children from being exposed to gambling have moved up a notch with country’s regulators ordering gambling websites to remove ads for casino games targeting children and minors. Led by the Gambling Commission (UCGC) and the Committee of Advertising Practice, the group of regulators sent an open letter to gambling companies urging them to ‘immediately’ stop posting adverts that appeal to under 18s or ‘face sanctions’.
The letter was sent out to more than 450 online gambling operators who are urged to stop the use of advertisements that use a particular set of colours and imagery that could appeal to under 18s. The Sunday Times’ investigation has revealed that some of Britain’s biggest online gaming operators have been targeting children with their favourite cartoon or storybook characters for New online betting games by exploiting loopholes in rules and regulations which allow them to promote gambling without breaching the UKGC’s rules.
Gambling operators would use characters such as Peter Pan, Moon Princess or Jack and the Beanstalk with games such as ‘Fluffy Favourites’ and ‘Pirate Princess’ being the ones highlighted by regulators as examples which target underage players. According to reports from British media, a number of children gambling in England and Wales are going up to half a million each week. The number of children gamblers exceeds the number of those smoking and taking drugs and the regulators’ growing fears of a generation of young people being ruined by harmful effects of gambling have forced them to take clear action.
Up to nine thousand of gambling minors in Wales and England are classified as problem gamblers and regulators have stepped up their efforts to help tackle this burning issue.Some of the games in question are available to play for free which means users can gain access to them without paying actual money, whereas the others require bets to be made. Some of the games see players place bets starting from 1p and going as high as £600 pounds which is particularly a problem for child users.
A report made by the Sunday Times claims to have passed a dossier with examples of no less than 30 games in question to the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) thus having a direct effect in helping the regulators step up their game to clamp down on this problem.
The Free-to-play games were classified as the primary risk for children gamblers who feed their addiction by playing them. The unstoppable growth of the mobile technology now allows children to gain access to such games in a much easier way than what’s been the case only years ago.Executive director at Gambling Commission, Tim Miller, reflected on new technologies, in particular, saying they brought ‘opportunities but also new risks’. Miller claims that UKGC’s rules require strong age-verification checks to prevent underage gambling. Businesses that fail to protect vulnerable social groups and especially children can expect harsh measures to be taken against them.