The ASA has found a handful of operators to be targeting their ads on sites frequented by minors.

ASA finds a number of gambling ads on websites popular with minors

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has found a handful of unnamed operators in the UK to be targeting their ads on websites and YouTube channels with sizeable minor audiences.

These findings were discovered as part of the ASA’s ‘online monitoring sweep’, designed to identify age-restricted advertising that could be seen by children on digital platforms.

The ASA is currently carrying out a project to expand its resources and find age-restricted ads for multiple industries in the UK.

However, the ASA has decided not to name or take action against the operators it found.

A number of ads found 

In the UK, the ASA’s Advertising Code states that age-restricted online ads must be targeted away from child audiences.

The authority found that across all industries, 159 ads breached the ASA’s age-restriction rules. 35 non-compliant advertisers in total placed their ads across 34 different websites and five YouTube channels with disproportionately large audiences of minors.

Four gambling operators posted 70 ads across eight different websites. Gambling ad breaches were higher than the 10 alcohol ads, as well as one in tobacco – which was related to e-cigarettes.

ASA Chief Executive Guy Parker had the following to say.

The ASA is using technology to proactively monitor online ads to help build a culture of zero tolerance for age-restricted ads appearing on websites aimed at children.”

“We expect advertisers and the parties they contract with to use the sophisticated tools available to them to target their ads responsibly. This is just one part of a wider set of initiatives we’re undertaking to ensure children are protected online and we’ll report on our further work in this area in the coming months.”

Companies won’t be publicly revealed, unless they’re found to be repeat offenders 

Instead of revealing the companies in breach of advertising regulations, the ASA has opted to talk to them about better practices they can adopt instead. However, if they are found to continue violating rules, then they will be publicly named and dealt with.

The gambling industry has already been taking steps to improve ad safeguarding. In May, the Betting and Gaming Council (BGC) revealed a new ‘Action Plan’. In this, the council said that it has formed an industry working group. This will work closely with advertising bodies and media partners to create new technological solutions that will stop gambling ads from being visible to younger audiences.

The BGC has also committed to a multi-million-pound education program, which aims to educate youngsters in the country about the potential harms of gambling.

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