ASA warning over gambling tech causing wider distrust in advertising

Josh Peachey's picture

Concerns have been raised that gambling operators could be using technology to target their advertising towards vulnerable people, which the ASA fears is causing wider distrust in advertising. 

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has called on the gambling sector to target more responsibly after concerns over technology targeting the vulnerable. 

ASA CEO Guy Parker said yesterday: “One of the concerns we have is that gambling operators are using technology to target gambling ads and marketing at people that might be at risk of developing problem gambling behaviours.

He added that the ASA want to ensure that "gambling operators are held to account to use technology to target ads away from people that might be vulnerable, away from children.”

The ASA recently investigated the targeting of gambling ads to children and found that gambling ads were served to children 151 times, with five operators breaking the rules prohibiting gambling ads being targeted at under-18s.

Parker said that behaviour from a small number of operators increases mistrust in advertising generally, identifying the level of bombardment – coupled with the concern around the sectors that are advertising – as a problem for the ad industry.

“Concerns around things like gambling advertising are influenced by this sense we have that we are being bombarded by gambling ads,” he added. 

“And not just ads in commercial spots on TV, it’s shirt sponsorship, sponsorship arrangements, championships being sponsored by gambling companies.