Bookmakers against Sunday News for “Targeting minors fake news”

14 Oct 2017

chlidren gamblingAccording to a recent article on the Sunday News, online gambling operators in Britain have been targeting minors through games that appeal to children without legally violating the Gambling Commission’s terms and conditions.

The newspapers’ investigation reports that is indeed a fact, because bookmakers attract the kids to gamble by creating online betting games based on popular cartoon characters.

This issue was surfaced by the fact that these games allow stakes from £1 to £600 without requiring any registration, or verification of the player's age.

Some of the most well known games include Peter Pan, Jack and the Beanstalk and Moon Princess, that are available on 888, Casinoland and other well known British operators.

The betting sector has labelled these allegations as “fake news” and has quickly shunned any speculations.

Despite that, the Advertising Standards Agency has mentioned that they will investigate the claims and publish their findings.

In an open letter to the Editor of The Sunday Times, the Gambling Commission stated: “Protecting children from being harmed or exploited by gambling is a clear priority for the Gambling Commission. Where businesses fail to protect vulnerable people, especially children, we have and will continue to take firm action. Some believe gambling companies are to blame for the worrying statistics around underage gambling, with Dominic Lawson from The Daily Mail stating: “Gambling firms targeting children are just as wicked as drug pushers.”

Some others believe the investigation to be a farce, with GBGC Director Warwick Bartlett commenting: “Advertising is expensive, and gambling companies measure the return of every advert that is placed against new accounts vs cost, known in the trade as customer acquisition cost. Why would a gambling company spend millions trying to entice children to gamble when at the point of sale they cannot open an account? The company’s KYC would block them, they cannot deposit unless they are 18+ years. This is fake news. Cartoon characters are often used instead of real people because computer graphics are cheaper than paying for overpriced stars. Oh, and by the way they do not only appeal to children, adults like them too. On a flight back from Las Vegas I walked down the aisle of the plane and saw thirty percent of adults watching the latest hit cartoon film Despicable Me,”

Industry expert and gambling consultant, Steve Donoughue states: “The fear that we have an epidemic of gambling addicted children lured online by cartoon characters used in online slots is nonsense and The Times should know better. Yes we have sites which allow people to play for free without age verification and so logically this could mean children play them. Does this mean the industry is targeting children? No it doesn't. They aren't allowed to gamble and age checks will pick them up if they try and play for money. So will they become addicts if they play for free? Probably not because children have been playing gambling style games for centuries and still less than 1% get a problem. But what about the adults that let their kids play using their accounts? That would be a parenting issue, where are the failed politicians making a fuss about that?”

UKGC has passed on a Sunday Times file of over 30 games to the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) for investigation.

The stats are really shocking. According to The Gambling Commission nearly 500.000 children are gambling in England and Wales every week!

Furthermore, in a report released last November 6% of all 11-to-15 years old children have gambled online at least once, by using their parents’ money.

Industry expert and gambling consultant, Steve Donoughue states: “The fear that we have an epidemic of gambling addicted children lured online by cartoon characters used in online slots is nonsense and The Times should know better. Yes we have sites which allow people to play for free without age verification and so logically this could mean children play them. Does this mean the industry is targeting children? No it doesn't. They aren't allowed to gamble and age checks will pick them up if they try and play for money. So will they become addicts if they play for free? Probably not because children have been playing gambling style games for centuries and still less than 1% get a problem. But what about the adults that let their kids play using their accounts? That would be a parenting issue, where are the failed politicians making a fuss about that?”

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