UK Regulators Clamp Down on Ads Targeing Children

December, 1st, 2022: For years, regulators have warned against underage gambling. In a recent report, more than a quarter of the school children have admitted one wagering on popular slot machines. The report adds that the staff did not prevent about two-thirds from playing. According to the law, the facilities are mandated to check if players are underage.

Now, UK regulators are working together to serve notice and protect children and vulnerable players from “unacceptable adverts” that likely appeal to the children. The notice was sent to more than 450 casino operators by the Gambling Commission, the Advertising Standards Authority, the Remote Gambling Association, and the Committee of Advertising Practice or CAP.

A notice to advertise responsibly

In a letter to dozens of operators, the regulators offer a reminder to promote responsible advertising, particularly those that appeal to children. The letter explained that there are corresponding sanctions if these operators fail to comply with the rule. The group highlighted popular games such as the Pirate Princess and the Fluffy Favourites, which boast colorful visuals that include brightly-coloured cartoon characters, which according to regulators, are likely to lure children into playing casino games. According to the ground, those who are under the age of 18 and other vulnerable individuals should be protected from exploitation. 

In the letter, the regulators write to “advise you to amend or remove immediately any ads on your website or in third party media that are likely to appeal particularly to people aged 17 or younger… and generally available to view’.

The group added that the reminder (on unacceptable adverts) focuses on “freely accessible ads for play-for-free and play-for-money games and includes all graphics and images displayed on a website or in third-party media”.

Possible sanctions for violators

In recent years, several online slots and marketing materials have featured striking colours, cartoons, and children-oriented references. According to the regulators, these visuals may lure children into trying to play these games. As such, they raised the alarm and offer a reminder to operators.

The letter even highlighted some games that feature these visuals, such as the Fluffy Favourites, Pirate Princess, Piggy Payout, and the Jack and the Beanstalk slot machines. Regulators reminded the operators that they must immediately amend or remove any freely accessible advertisements on their websites that may potentially appeal to those under 18.

Underage gambling is still a crucial issue

Underage is still a crucial issue in the United Kingdom. According to the Gambling Commission research last year, roughly 450,000 children gamble weekly, and about 9,000 are considered ‘problem gamblers’. Regulators aren’t the only offices that are concerned with this development. The Local Government Association or LGA also supports this move to clamp down on underage gaming. According to LGA, problem gambling is a major concern since it causes greater personal harm. In addition, problem gambling can lead to more serious issues like debt and deteriorating mental health and well-being.

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