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UK advertising watchdog finds five gambling companies in breach

UK gambling commission

Five UK bookmakers have run foul of the United Kingdom Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) after being caught targeting children with online betting promotions and advertising.

The five brands — Unibet, Vikings Video Slot, Redbet, Multilotto and PlayOjo — were found in breach of the UK advertising code that is designed to protect children under 18.

The way the watchdog was able to find the breaches should serve as a warning for other online gambling companies.

The ASA created ‘avatars’ that simulated the browsing patterns of underage children online on specific Youtube channels and various other children’s sites.

It’s findings were not pretty for the gambling companies exposed in the search.

23 different advertisements popped up 151 times across 11 different children’s websites.

Vikings Video Slot was the main offender – 10 of the 23 ads were theirs, as well as 122 of the 151 occurrences they appeared.

The gambling companies in breach admitted fault, but also blamed third party affiliate sites for some of the breaches.

The ASA’s chief executive, Guy Parker, praised the new online avatar technique and confirmed the tactic would be used to a greater extent to expose companies breaking advertising laws — not just in gambling, but in the alcohol, tobacco and junk food industries.

“Online ads are subject to the same strict rules that apply elsewhere and this important new monitoring capability delivers on our commitment to having more impact online,” Parker said.

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