New Report Urges Tougher Regulations as Social Media Ads Lure More Youth into Gambling : Tech : Tech Times

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In a move to address the escalating concern over the influence of social media advertisements on youth gambling, a recent report has underscored the urgent need for stricter regulations. 

The study, conducted jointly by researchers from Bristol University and the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) News, sheds light on the alarming trend of betting firms resorting to “sneaky” marketing tactics that blur the lines between entertainment and promotion.

RUESSELSHEIM, GERMANY – SEPTEMBER 22: Children play video games on smartphones while attending a public event on September 22, 2012 in Ruesselsheim, Germany. Smartphones, with their access to social networks, high-resolution screens, video games and internet acess, have become commonplace among children and teenagers across the globe.
(Photo : Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

Concerns About Gambling Ads

The findings reveal a troubling surge in gambling promotions seamlessly integrated with popular cultural references, making it challenging for young individuals to discern them as advertisements. 

Dr. Raffaello Rossi, one of the report’s authors and a marketing lecturer at Bristol University, emphasized the insidious nature of content marketing, particularly on social media platforms, which often cultivates a positive perception of gambling among the youth.

“Our study highlights a serious issue with social media gambling marketing – especially content marketing. A staggering 92% of content marketing ads are not clearly identifiable as advertising, breaching key advertising regulations,” stated Dr. Rossi, noting the effect of these tactics, especially among younger demographics.

We urgently need to strengthen those regulations to protect consumers-particularly children, who are especially vulnerable to sneaky advertising,” Dr. Rossi said.

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More Stringent Regulations on Gambling Ads

The report advocates for more stringent regulations to curb this concerning trend. Suggestions range from banning gambling content marketing altogether to mandating clear labeling on promotional social media posts. 

This comes in response to a previous revelation that major betting operators in the UK posted nearly 80 times a day on Twitter, indicating the pervasive nature of such marketing strategies.

Moreover, the study raises alarms about the inadequacy of existing age-gating measures on social media platforms, which underage users easily circumvent. Approximately a third of children with social media profiles reportedly have an adult user age, highlighting the need for more robust safeguards.

Delving deeper, the research focused on gambling-related marketing during NHL and NBA broadcasts, uncovering over 4,100 gambling messages during just seven matches. Alarmingly, almost half of the social media gambling adverts lacked clear identifications as advertisements, with a disproportionate targeting of young men aged 18-34.

The absence of harm reduction and age restriction messages in the majority of gambling advertisements further exacerbates concerns regarding their impact on vulnerable groups. Only a scant 2.6% of gambling messages during game broadcasts contained harm-reduction messaging, indicating a glaring gap in promoting responsible gambling practices.

Responding to the urgency of the matter, the University of Bristol recently launched the Bristol Hub for Gambling Harms Research. This initiative aims to spearhead multidisciplinary research into the wide-reaching effects of gambling harms, underscoring the imperative for greater scrutiny and regulation in this domain.

Stay posted here at Tech Times.

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