Gambling firms face probe over their World Cup TV adverts amid claims they used ‘psychological tricks’ to urge customers to place bets quickly
- The British Advertising Standards Agency (ASA) received 115 complaints during the World Cup over gambling adverts – compared to 27 the previous month
- Firms were accused of encouraging customers to make bets quickly with offers
- The ASA will now probe adverts to establish whether further action is needed
Betting firms are being investigated over World Cup adverts that are suspected of flouting new rules designed to protect vulnerable viewers including children.
The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) is looking into whether commercials ignored rules designed to stop them using psychological tricks to encourage placing a bet quickly.
The watchdog received 115 complaints about TV gambling ads during the World Cup in Russia, which compares to just 27 in the month before.
There are concerns the industry failed to ensure the adverts did not pose a risk to children or people with a gambling addiction.
Adverts for betting in the UK are under strict rules but some are accused of breaking them during the World Cup earlier in the summer
Gambling firms are being investigated over claims they enticed people to bet quickly during the World Cup
Firms may also have broken rules which state they should not trivialise gambling or give an irresponsible perception of the risks involved – by offering free bets or bonuses, for example.
Under ASA rules, gambling ads cannot appear on dedicated children’s channels or around programmes aimed at youngsters.
However, this does not extend to football matches and other big sporting events, despite the fact that they attract huge child audiences.
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An ASA spokesman said: ‘The gambling advertising rules already place an emphasis on protecting young and vulnerable people from potential harm.
‘Our new guidance introduced earlier this year restricts gambling ads that create an inappropriate sense of urgency, clamps down on ads that encourage repetitive play and provides more detail on vulnerable groups like problem gamblers that marketers need to work to protect.
‘We’re currently assessing several ads that appeared during the World Cup to establish if any further action needs to be taken.’
A study by experts at the University of Warwick, reported earlier this month, argued that it may be necessary to ban TV gambling commercials that appear to be at odds with ASA rules.
Betting companies do carry warnings for gamblers but they were accused of breaking rules during the World Cup in Russia
The group surveyed commercials that ran during the World Cup and were particularly concerned about those offering ‘live odds’, where viewers are urged to rush to have a bet.
One commercial shown immediately before the start of England’s match against Colombia was for England to score in the first 20 minutes – which meant placing a bet quickly.
The Remote Gambling Association, which speaks for online betting firms, said it supported the ASA’s new guidance on TV adverts.
Last week a Daily Mail investigation revealed that gambling firms use tactics such as giving away holidays and sports tickets to keep the highest-spending customers using their websites.
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