Eight out of ten children as young as eight years old can recall television advertising for betting firms, research from Goldsmiths, University of London has shown.
The study, which involved 99 children aged 8-16 and 71 adults, also found that almost half the children could name one or more betting brands, with Bet365 and Betway most commonly recalled. This is despite regulations that prohibit gambling advertising aimed at children.
The work, led by Professor Rebecca Cassidy and students at the Department of Anthropology, builds on previous research which found that children are exposed to betting brands through sponsorship of football shown on TV.
In an exercise that investigated the link to football, over 60% of the children correctly placed one or more shirt sponsor magnets next to the corresponding football team. Interviews revealed a culture of underage betting: for instance, one 13 year-old said “It’s normal for under 18’s to bet with friends. I put £2 on Man U with other young people” while an 8 year-old said “because if they love football it (betting) is part of wanting their team to win”.
While three out of ten of the children expressed a negative attitude towards gambling advertising during sport a similar proportion had a positive view of it and mistakenly saw betting as a risk-free way to win money: one 8 year-old said “I like it. I want to win money” while another 8 year-old said “it’s good, you get loads of money”.
Professor Rebecca Cassidy said: “A partial ban on televised advertising during sport has widespread support in the UK but our evidence suggests, on its own, this may not be enough to significantly reduce young people’s exposure to gambling advertising.
“We believe policymakers should consider a more comprehensive approach, similar to that taken towards tobacco brands, in which all forms of advertising including promotion and sponsorship are taken into account. Only this sort of concerted action is likely to lessen the impact of advertising on young people’s attitudes to gambling.”
A report of the research, entitled ‘Recall and awareness of gambling advertising and sponsorship in sport in the UK: a study of young people and adults’, is published in the Harm Reduction Journal.