Would most children know a gambling advertisement when they saw one? Are gambling operators doing enough to make certain that they’re not knowingly, or unknowingly, marketing their products to underage players?
When it comes to the world e-sports and e-sports wagering, the answer appears to be a hard no on both counts. That’s the conclusion researchers at Demos and the Department of Management at the University of Bristol found recently during a recent study of e-sports gambling-related tweets and their impact on children.
According to the study, which was reported on by SBC News, found that 28 percent of the people interacting with e-sports wagering tweets were underage. Even worse, researchers found that nearly 75 percent of those same tweets presented gambling as a source of income. That’s a massive no-no that could easily land operators in front of the dreaded UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) to explain the error of their ways.
In a country where gambling regulators are cracking down on gambling operators for marketing blunders of all shapes and size – this is not a good situation.
The study’s authors didn’t single out any particular gambling operators and seemed more intent on finding solutions than assigning blame. “We found that high volumes of messages are produced to appeal particularly to children, with thousands of children in the UK following and responding to this content. We hope this report serves as a call to action – both to technology companies to make it easier for gambling customers to get a clear picture of what they’re getting into, and to regulators who must continue to ensure that these new actors are compliant with regulation,” said the reports co-author Josh Smith.
Smith recommends that operators tighten up their age verification systems to ensure underage players aren’t breaching the gap and accessing their products to wager on e-sports.