The industry-backed body says that a precautionary approach is necessary when minors are concerned.
UK.- GambleAware’s chief communications officer Alexia Clifford has welcomed the Committee of Advertising Practice’s (CAP) new rules on gambling advertising announced earlier this month.
Writing in the advertising industry media outlet Campaign, she said the body endorses a precautionary approach to protect minors.
She wrote: “As the leading charity working to prevent gambling harms, we strongly support all efforts to help prevent gambling harm among children and young people.
“Younger generations growing up today are having to navigate an entirely different world through online and social media and are often surrounded by new technologies and ways to interact and engage online. This is especially important when considering the rise of social media influencers and the growing level of influence celebrities can have on young people and youth culture.”
Clifford welcomes the CAP’s new rules, which prohibit the use of celebrities who are well-known among minors.
She said: “I think it is absolutely right for the new rules to limit the role of top-flight footballers and sportspeople who are well-known to under-18s in relation to gambling advertising and marketing. The media landscape has evolved swiftly and in some cases, the advertising and marketing regulations have struggled to keep up.”
The CAP announced its new rules after considering GambleAware research on the exposure and appeal of gambling advertising and marketing among minors.
The charity found that 94 per cent of 11- to 17-year-olds were exposed to gambling marketing activity, seeing on average six gambling ads. Nearly two-thirds of 11- to 17-year-olds had seen gambling adverts on social media, and nearly half had seen sports teams, games or events sponsored by a gambling operator.
Clifford wrote: “Campaign readers don’t need to be told how powerful insight-led and well-targeted marketing campaigns can be in changing behaviour.”
She added: “When it comes to children and young people, it’s crucial that we take a precautionary approach and protect them from exposure to gambling advertising and marketing. That’s why I’m delighted that the findings from our research into gambling advertising and children and young people played a key part in the decision to strengthen the CAP code.
“I believe that reducing the amount of gambling advertising children and young people are exposed to is critical to delivering a society in which people are safe from gambling harms.”
Last week, GambleAware announced that it was investing £2.5m to expand The Gambling Education Hub Service (GEHS) across England and Wales after a pilot in Scotland. It’s made the investment in the form of a grant to the safer gambling charity GamCare, which is developing the service with YGAM and the Adferiad Recovery.
GEHS aims to help prevent gambling harm among young people via education and early intervention. Some 3,000 professionals and volunteers took part in the Scottish pilot, after which 92 per cent of practitioners said they felt confident identifying signs of gambling harm. That compared to 35 per cent before their training.