Gambling Harm UK has submitted a complaint to the Advertising Standards Agency (ASA) about the proliferation of gambling games we believe have a ‘strong appeal’ to children and young people. Research has repeatedly found that children and young people are particularly vulnerable to gambling harms and can suffer potentially devastating life-long effects. Despite this, the Gambling Commission estimates that over 100,000 children aged 11-16 suffer harm from their own gambling. For this reason, the proliferation of games which appeal to children is unacceptable.
We have previously surveyed our lived experience community to gauge opinion on whether certain games appealed to children. Due to the results of that survey and the introduction of updated guidance by the ASA, we endeavoured to investigate eleven of the top gambling sites. We found that whilst there were some improvements since our survey, a majority of the games we looked at were in breach of one or more of the ASA’s guidelines around ‘strong appeal’ to children. The full complaint letter and report can be found below:
We received a response from the ASA, which maintained it was not failing to enforce standards. However, they committed to contacting each company in our report to ‘remind them of their responsibilities and highlighting any particular areas of concern’. They also committed to conducting a monitoring exercise this October (one year after the new guidance was published) to assess ‘whether there still remain any concerns about gaming tiles and strong appeal to under-18s’.
We look forward to the results of this exercise and will re-examine the situation in October.