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New research from the University of Bristol reveals that children are being targeted for online gambling

22 August 2019

New research published by Department of Management and Demos reveals 28% of those retweeting or replying to esports betting tweets in the UK are children under 16. The report calls for tech companies to make better use of age verification tools and adtech to screen out children from gambling ads.

The Biddable Youth report (PDF, 1,656kB), which explores this new field of gambling online, analysed over 888,000 betting-related tweets over a period of nine months in 2018.

Analysis shows 74 per cent of esports tweets and 68 per cent of traditional sports tweets appeared not to comply with advertising regulations in some way - for example, presenting gambling as an income source or encouraging gambling at unsociable times.  

Showing a person under 25 in a gambling advert is against regulations – but as most professional esports players are in this age bracket the rules are flouted again and again.

Professor Agnes Nairn, from the University of Bristol's Department of Management and co-author of Biddable Youth, said: "We were really surprised at the number of children actively engaging with esports gambling accounts.  Yet with the massive growth in the esports industry, unless action is taken, we can only expect this figure to rise as sports and gambling seem to be inextricably linked.

"Our in-depth analysis of the content of gambling advertising Tweets leads us to believe that children’s esports gambling is currently under the radar in two ways: it's online where parents won’t see it and it’s using clever content marketing such as amusing GIFS, memes, pictures and funny stories, designed to appeal to and implicitly influence young people."

Further information

Read the University of Bristol's full news article about the report.

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