ASA records decrease in ad violations and breaches

Cvetanka Cvetanovska | Published 11 Feb 2021, 11:21 a.m.

Last week we covered the latest news regarding changes in online slot games published by the UKGC. The new measures refer to key features found in slot models, such as autoplay, spin speed or effects that give a wrong impression over the outcome. In the meantime, the Betting and Gaming council expressed their worries regarding these measures, reporting that more UK players opt in to play on illegal gambling sites. Today, we’ll look at ASA’s latest report regarding online advertisements and online consumer protection.

Significant progress in ad breaches and violations

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) issued its latest monitoring insights regarding consumer protection and targeted advertisements. This long-term initiative is part of a project that identifies age-restricted ads appearing in minor’s online space and social media.

Between October and December 2020, this regulator used different tools to follow age-restricted ads on a sample of several websites and YouTube channels. Experts analysed ads involving gambling, alcohol, food and drinks, tobacco etc.  A total of 47 ads violated the advertising rules, while 21 mediums inappropriately placed age-restricted ads. Moreover, eight YouTube channels attracted a large group of minors.

In an official statement by the ASA representatives, they say they’re encouraged by the lower number of breaches and violations compared to previous audits. Once they run a Q1 2021 audit, they’ll publish a final report reflecting on this project’s insights.  Gambling itself reported only three ad breaches by one advertiser.   

The ASA chief executive Guy Parker said they see significant progress in the ambition to create an online environment with zero tolerance on consumer protection and age-restricted ads. He further expects they’ll continue to reach milestones and note continual progress.

An international spike in suspicious betting activities

The International Betting Integrity Association (IBIA) published its 2020 Integrity report, noticing a significant increase in suspicious betting behaviour compared to 2019. The annual report marked a total of 270 suspicious alerts, spanned in 43 countries and 15 different sports. This number represents a 48% spike, with 25% in football betting activities alone.

This regulator was established in 2005 and is formerly known as the Sports Betting Integrity (ESSA). They’re the lead voice of integrity for the betting industry, aiming to handle betting corruption. In their report, Europe marks the highest number of suspicious betting activities with 141, followed by Asia with 45 and North America with 22.

The CEO of IBIA Khalid Ali said that 2020 was a turbulent and challenging year for many industries and sectors, including betting. They all had to adjust and adapt their offers due to sports cancellations and global health disruption. In 2020, they issued several sanctions against 12 teams and players where IBIA noticed suspicious behaviour. In a few cases, IBIA’s data contributed to important countermeasures such as issuing permanent bans. Ali further adds that the association want to work with stakeholders and address potential integrity challenges associated with the recent news and events, promoting a standardised approach to sports data in betting.

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