UKGC Orders Operators to Remove Advertising Targeting Youth & ChildrenPublished October 24, 2017 by Ivan P
The letter sent by the UKGC and several other regulatory authorities asks the gaming operators to remove any advertising content that could entice children to gamble.
The United Kingdom Gambling Commission (UKGC) has been very active as of late, coming after gaming site operators and affiliate sites, urging them to fix numerous areas they see as problematic under threats of penalties. In its latest outreach, the UKGC, together with several other agencies in charge of regulating general gaming and advertising guidelines, have requested gambling operators to remove any and all advertising content that might appeal to children.
Using Popular Children Characters
The letter, signed by the UKGC, the Advertising Standards Authority, the Committee of Advertising Practice, and the Remote Gambling Association resulted from an investigation conducted by the Sunday Times,the details of which were published on Friday.
According to the Sunday Times' findings, gaming operators and developers often use popular characters from fairytales and cartoons such as Jack and the Beanstalk or Peter Pan to attract players. The problem with such practices, regulators believe, is that they might entice those under 18 to get involved with gambling activities.
Thus, the letter requests all the operators to immediately remove any advertising content that might attract those under the legal gambling age under the threat of hefty fines. In the event an operator is uncertain whether a particular advert or campaign are in this category, they should remove it and contact the Committee of Advertising Practice for clarification.
Tip of the Iceberg?
While this regulatory move isn't anything particularly concerning on its own, the question is where will the UK regulators stop? It is a well-known fact that many of the most popular slots feature popular children and cartoon characters, so could these come next? While there is nothing firm to go on at this point, once this campaign is over, it wouldn't be shocking to see regulatory bodies in the country to ask the UK-licensed operators to remove all such slots from their libraries.
Underage Gambling a Growing Problem
Actions taken by the UKGC were prompted by the Sunday Times research, but the underage gambling has been a problem in the UK for some time now. A survey conducted last year indicated that 450,000 children aged 11 to 15 were involved in some sort of gambling activities.
Of this number, some 6% admitted to gambling online at one of the available sites. Additionally, it is believed there might be around 9,000 children across the country displaying problem gambling traits, and the regulators seem determined to change things around.