Children’s exposure to TV gambling ads falls to 2008 levels

The Advertising Standards Authority has today published a report entitled “Children’s exposure to age-restricted TV ads: 2019 update” in which one of its findings is that children’s exposure to TV advertisements for gambling products or services has fallen to similar levels as those seen in 2008. However, it also finds that children’s overall exposure to TV advertising has almost halved since 2008.

The report’s key findings on this topic are as follows:

  • In 2019, children’s exposure to gambling advertising on TV has returned to similar levels observed at the beginning of the analysis period. Children saw, on average, 2.2 and 2.7 gambling ads on TV per week in 2008 and 2009, respectively; in 2019, children saw a weekly average of 2.5 gambling ads on TV. Children’s exposure to gambling advertising on TV has remained at similar levels during the last six years, notwithstanding that exposure levels rose slightly in 2018.
  • Children’s exposure to TV gambling ads, relative to adults’, stood at 17.2% in 2019, the lowest in the 12-year period covered. This means that in 2019, children saw, on average, just under one gambling ad for every five seen by adults.
  • Gambling ads made up less than 2% of all the TV ads that children saw, on average in a week every year between 2008 and 2017. This increased slightly to 2.2% in 2018 and remained at a similar level in 2019, at 2.1%.
  • Since 2011 (the first year when we can be confident about product breakdown information for gambling products), ads for bingo, lottery and scratchcards have continued to make up the majority of gambling ads that children see on TV. This is followed by ads for casinos, and then ads for sports-related gambling.
  • Children’s exposure to all TV ads halved, from a peak of, on average, 229.3 ads per week in 2013 to a low of 115.9 ads per week in 2019. Over the same period, children’s exposure to gambling ads on TV has fallen by just under half. While the rate of decline in children’s exposure to gambling ads on TV is marginally lower than the rate of decrease in exposure to all TV ads, children’s exposure to gambling ads has remained at a lower level since the 2013 peak.

You can download the report in full below.

The report’s findings will need to be considered in the light of:

  • analysis in November 2018 that five times more was spent on gambling marketing online than on television gambling ads, leading Marc Etches, CEO of GambleAware to comment: “Children are growing up in a very different world than their parents. The Gambling Commission reports that 59% of 11-16 year olds have seen gambling advertisements on social media, compared to 66% on television. One in eight 11 to 16 year olds follow gambling companies on social media, and they are three times more likely to spend money on gambling. Of those who have ever played online gambling-style games, 24% follow gambling companies online” and
  • a report published by GambleAware in March 2020 on the effect of gambling marketing & advertising on children, young people & the vulnerable, finding that exposure to gambling advertising, including on social media, can have an impact on attitudes towards the prevalence and acceptability of gambling, and in turn the likelihood that a child, young person or vulnerable adult will gamble in the future. That report featured in David Clifton’s current ‘Licensing Expert’ article for SBC News entitled “Better the devil you know ….”