Gaming or Gambling? Unfolding the Online Ad Conundrum

The UK’s leading charity for gambling harm treatment, GambleAware, has launched a ground-breaking report that sheds light on children’s exposure to gambling advertisements, in response to mounting worries about the effects of such adverts on developing brains. The research, which was carried out by Sherbert Research, Family Kids & Youth, and CultureStudio Research, examined the perspectives and experiences of families and children between the ages of 7 and 25.

The qualitative research uncovered a disturbing normalization of gambling among children, with many viewing it as an intrinsic part of daily life. Shockingly, respondents recounted early exposure to various forms of gambling content, citing its pervasive presence in their upbringing. The allure of gambling, characterized by its vibrant and captivating imagery, was described as deeply appealing to young audiences, blurring the boundaries between entertainment and risk.

Perception Gaps and Educational Needs

Despite their familiarity with gambling-related content, children displayed a concerning lack of understanding regarding its associated risks, particularly in online environments. This sentiment was echoed by participants across various age groups, who highlighted the dearth of comprehensive information and warnings about gambling’s potential harms. The study underscored the need for enhanced education on gambling harm in educational settings, coupled with heightened awareness campaigns to mitigate the influence of gambling advertising on impressionable minds.

Expressing grave concerns, GambleAware CEO Zoë Osmond emphasized the urgent need for regulatory intervention to shield children from the detrimental effects of gambling normalization. Osmond advocated for stricter advertising regulations to counteract the pervasive presence of gambling content in children’s lives, emphasizing the potential long-term consequences of early exposure.

In line with Osmond’s thoughts, Hanna Chalmers, the creator of CultureStudio Research, stressed the significance of putting preventive measures in place to lessen harm and ensure the wellbeing of kids and teenagers.

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Furthermore, in order to stop the gradual normalization of gambling among young audiences, Nicki Karet, managing director of Sherbert Research, emphasized the dangers linked to the hazy lines separating iGaming from gambling-like games and urged lawmakers to resolve this ambiguity.

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