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Researchers Find Gambling Self-Regulation ‘Completely Failing’

A new study from the University of Bristol on gambling advertising during Premiere League matches found that industry self-regulation is “completely failing.” Researchers found that a full 92 percent of gaming ads were not in compliance with advertising regulations as most of them were not clearly identifiable as gambling advertisements.

The research was conducted over the weekend of August 11-14 of this year and is described by the university as a rapid assessment. While the study was rapid, it was also quite involved; evaluating 10,099 advertisements, 6,966 of which were aired during Premiere League matches.

Once the evaluation was done, the results were not particularly flattering for the UK gaming industry. The study revealed that 92 percent of the ads from major operators were not clearly identified as advertisements. More alarming, both for the industry and the players, researchers found that only 20.6 percent of the ads included a gambling harm warning and only 18.7 percent of them included age restriction messaging.

Speaking in a press release co-lead researcher Dr Raffaello Rossi, Lecturer in Marketing at the University of Bristol Business School, described the study saying, “Our research shows gambling marketing during Premier League weekends is inescapable. Football fans are bombarded with gambling marketing through various channels, making it a normal part of football consumption.

“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. We urgently need to strengthen those regulations to protect consumers – in particular children, who are especially vulnerable to sneaky advertising.”

The research will be described in more detail on a report from Channel 5 which aired on September 19 and is available for viewing on YouTube.