Posted April 17, 2014 by John Baintree in News

Kids Exposed To TV Gambling Adverts 211 Times A Year


A recent shock horror report by the broadcasting regulator Ofcom has highlighted a disturbing rise in the number of gambling adverts that children are exposed to. According to Ofcom, there has been a massive change in the volume of television advertising for gambling products.

Now, before looking at this shock horror announcement that required a special report from Ofcom, are we really surprised? After the gambling market was deregulated, that’s one step away from light touch regulation (as seen in the City prior to the banking crash) in 2008 companies had a product they wanted to communicate so how did we honestly expect them to do it?

Focussing on the numbers briefly, between 2006 and 2102 the number of TV adverts broadcast rose from 152,000 in 2006 to 1.39 million in 2012. Numbers at the time of de-regulation in 2008 were 537,000 adverts broadcast. In 2012, 38 percent were for bingo, 30 percent were for casinos and poker games, 26 percent were lotteries and scratch cards with just 4 percent on Sports Betting. Most certainly, anyone with half an eye on the TV will agree that these figures are quite believable.

Perhaps more worrying was how these increased levels of advertising were impacting children. In 2012, the Ofcom report states, young children between the ages of 4 and 15 were exposed to gambling adverts 473 times or in advertising speak – they experienced 1.8 billion commercial impacts.

The reason for this sits with the last government who, when they deregulated advertising removed the post watershed only restriction that was currently in force at the time.

There is an argument that says that the advertising codes of conduct are very careful about how gambling can be portrayed and what the messages given out can actually be. Unfortunately, I’m not one who can accept that this is enough. The point that I think needs to be made is that if the gambling companies didn’t think advertising would work they wouldn’t spend money on it. Clearly they (and their research one assumes) confirm that this type of advertising is effective. So what do we think is going to be happening to your children? As they become exposed to more and more advertising that complies with guidelines but still presents gambling as completely normal behaviour which do you think is going to be more effective? Will it be the advertising guidelines or the adverts at shaping the behaviour of our children? Go on, take a bet!