Two in three teenagers feel bombarded by adverts for betting firms on TV, a study has found.
The revelation came as the Church of England warned of a ‘moral crisis’ for children – and demanded a ban on betting adverts before 9pm.
The study found 65 per cent of teenagers think television channels carry too much gambling advertising, which dominates sports coverage. Only one in four believe TV gambling adverts carry enough warnings about the dangers of becoming addicted.
More than six in ten said some TV adverts for Paddy Power and Bet365 made gambling ‘look fun’. Almost half – 49 per cent – said some of these companies’ commercials made gambling look like a good way to make money.
More than six in ten said some TV adverts for Paddy Power and Bet365 made gambling ‘look fun’
Researchers have previously found that more than half of 16-year-olds have gambling apps on their smartphones – two years before they are legally allowed to place bets.
The latest study was commissioned by Tory peer Lord Chadlington, whose survey of 1,000 teenagers aged 14 to 18 was conducted by Populus.
He said: ‘The Government should ban all gambling advertising during sporting events. It must ensure that both online and offline, the use of sporting celebrities to promote gambling should be stopped.
‘Gambling must not be normalised amongst the young. You can enjoy sport as sport – you do not need gambling to make it fun.’ He cited an Australian ban on all gambling advertising during live sport with large child audiences before an 8.30pm watershed. There are growing demands for similar measures here.
Last night the Church of England called for the exemption that allows gambling companies to show adverts before the 9pm watershed to be closed.
The Rt Rev Alan Smith, the Bishop of St Albans who often speaks for the Church on problem gambling, told The Daily Telegraph: ‘There’s lots of evidence that young people are seeing extraordinary levels of advertising which is normalising and socialising gambling. That is a moral issue – one we need to stand back and reflect about.’
He added: ‘You cannot watch a game of football without seeing dozens of adverts which are selling a way of life. There is an exemption for gambling companies. That is an anomaly that needs to be closed. It’s dubious even after the watershed.’
Many betting companies advertising during TV sport use humour, celebrities, free bets and other ‘get rich quick’ inducements to encourage people to gamble on their smartphones.
Bet365 features celebrity actor Ray Winstone in their adverts
Justyn Larcombe, of the consultancy Epic, which helps problem gamblers, said: ‘The free bets and special offers especially help entice young people into making bets. Often we discover that more than half of Year 12 pupils, aged around 16, have a gambling app on their smartphones two years before they are legally allowed to gamble.’
The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) is carrying out a review of gambling.
The Remote Gambling Association, the online gambling industry body, said: ‘We can never be complacent where children are concerned.
‘It is a timely opportunity for the Government to undertake an objective assessment of all of the evidence. We will implement any necessary changes that flow from that.’
Many betting companies advertising during TV sport use humour, celebrities, free bets and other ‘get rich quick’ inducements to encourage people to gamble on their smartphones
The latest study comes days after the boss of a major bookmaker admitted there ‘might be too many’ gambling advertisements on TV.
Jim Mullen, chief executive of Ladbrokes Coral, has denied that there is an ‘unhealthy relationship’ between football and gambling.
But he added: ‘If you ask for my personal opinion on gambling advertising and TV, I’m sympathetic that there might be too much, but it’s well within the football authorities’ position to take a view.’
- The Advertising Standards Authority is to examine whether cartoon games on gambling websites, such as the Fairytale Legends series and Santa Paws, target children.