ASA rules against adverts from five operators

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has banned the adverts of five operators after ruling that they breach rules related to advertising gambling towards under-18s.

A television against a wall

The ASA launched an investigation to see which gambling adverts target children. © Pixabay.

The decision comes after an investigation by the ASA was launched that identified 43 different adverts that were connected with the use of a “child avatar”. The ASA established this avatar, that simulated an average child browsing, to see which adverts it was targeted with.

The ASA was able to link these 43 adverts to five operators: Evoke Gaming, NetEnt, Unibet, PlayOJO, and Multilotto UK Ltd. The ads often appeared on free online outlets, such as YouTube. In total, 23 gambling ads appeared 151 times on 11 websites that were monitored.

The ASA decided that all of the operators had broken rules related to gambling adverts being targeted at those under 18 years of age.

The gambling firms in question have reportedly accepted that the rules had been broken, but said that the issues occurred due to third party providers that the operators employ. In a statement Kindred, who own Unibet, one of the firms ruled against, said:

The advert was served by a third party without the control or knowledge of Kindred/Unibet and in breach of the contractual terms in place. The advert was served due to a fault in that third party’s systems and the fault has been addressed. The advert did not lead to under-18 gambling.Alexander Westrell, Kindred group head of communications

New technology allowed the ASA to launch the investigation utilising the avatar that would simulate children’s online browsing behaviour. This technology could also be used to expose brands in other industries that should not advertise to children, such as alcohol.

Regarding the investigation and the ruling, the ASA said:

Online ads are subject to the same strict rules that apply elsewhere and this important new monitoring capability delivers on our commitment to having more impact online.Guy Parker, ASA chief executive

You can read the release in full at the ASA’s website.

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