ASA Reports Decline In Young People's Exposure To Gambling Ads

Kosta Kostadinov | Published 12 May 2022, 12:11 p.m.

As of late, authorities have decided to tackle the issue of problem gambling and have taken a rather hands-on approach. Many new rules and regulations have been implemented for the industry, regarding providers, operators, and even the players. Fortunately, all of this resulted in overall success and progress has been made to ensure a safe environment for players.

Over the previous weeks, we kept you informed about all of these new regulations and novelties in the industry and in the article about the BGC debates we also noted that a significant decline has been seen when it comes to the exposure of young people to gambling ads. Now, a study has been published regarding these things and it shows great results on a much bigger scale as well.

ASA’s research shows great improvements

Recently, the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) conducted a study regarding the exposure of young people under the age of 16 to alcohol and gambling advertisements, compared to a decade ago. The results that they discovered are quite pleasing and they show good progress and a significant decline.

This research was based on data collected from ASA’s monitoring of ads, particularly the age-restricted ones. This allowed them to see how often children were exposed to them and whether or not the schedule for these ads was efficient.

According to the results, in regards to alcohol-related ads, children’s exposure in 2010 was at an average of 3.2 per week, but in 2021 that number has declined to 0.8 a week. As for the gambling-related ads, the average of 3 ads per week has decreased to 2.2 per week. When comparing children’s exposure compared to that of adults, the 35% in 2010, has dropped to 15.4% in 2021.

It was also noted that these days children are less exposed to television ads in general and that back in 2010, the average for them was 226.7 ads per week, which is considerably higher than the weekly 82.8 average that is seen today.

Declines in all 4 nations

This ASA research gathered and compiled information about England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland individually, as opposed to focusing on just the general population.

In England, exposure to ads in general dropped from 227.5 per week to 81.6. Exposure to alcohol ads declined from 3.1 to 0.8 per week, while gambling-related ads dropped from 2.9 per week in 2010, to 2.1 in 2021.

In Scotland, children’s exposure to ads saw a decline from 225.1 to 92.9 ads per week. On weekly basis, alcohol and gambling ads dropped from 3.4 and 3.5 to 0.9 and 2.8, respectively.

The biggest decline in TV ads was seen in Northern Ireland, where the numbers plummeted from 281.6 to 59 ads per week. The biggest difference was also seen in alcohol ads, where the average changed from 5.2 to only 1 advertisement per week. A dramatic difference was also noted in gambling ads, which dropped from 3.5 on average, to 1.4.

For Wales, the average exposure to ads changed from 19.9 to 5.9. Weekly, only a single alcohol-related ad is seen by children, while the gambling-related advertisements saw a change of 3.9 to 3.2 per week.

According to Guy Parker, the chief executive of ASA, “Our latest report confirms the ongoing decline in children's exposure to ads for age-restricted products, which is what our rules are designed to achieve. But of course, that's not the full story. Children's media consumption habits are changing significantly, which is why we're also focused on protecting them online. Later this year, we'll publish our findings on the ads they are seeing across the internet and social media as part of our zero-tolerance approach to age-restricted ads being served to children."

In other words, the ASA will continue to do research and monitor children’s exposure to these kinds of ads on other media platforms as well. 

The 100 Children Project

The ASA acknowledges the fact that this decline is greatly related to the fact that children are more present in the online sphere, rather than in front of the TV. Because of this, the 100 Children Project will work with a panel of 100 teenagers and it will mirror children’s online presence in order to more closely monitor the exposure. 

Thanks to this project, it will be much easier and more efficient for actions to be taken against age-restricted ads that children are exposed to in the online sphere.

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