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Calls to bury gambling ads down under

A piece from LadBible went on the offensive against gambling advertising this week, pointing out that for social media and video platform users, the ads are now “everywhere and they only seem to be getting more intense.”

The piece, bolstered by a passionate call to reduce the amount of gambling advertising seen online from an Australian Reddit user, argues that if the ubiquity of operator advertising is to continue, the ads should at least be ‘skippable’ on streaming sites such as YouTube.

The piece blamed the increase in online ads for a reported 300% increase in gambling spend in New South Wales and Victoria since the first Covid-19 related lockdown took place in Australia, and suggested internet users should have more choice over the ads they are and are not exposed to.

This is just the latest in a string of examples of people starting to become riled by the widespread nature of gambling advertising. 

And with restrictions either taking place or being considered across major key markets like the UK, Netherlands, Spain and Italy, the world’s gambling regulators are clearly turning their eye to this reaction from the public, too.

Some would suggest the time has come to curb the amount of advertising our industry puts in front of people – in any case, soon businesses may have little choice in the matter.

A token of fans’ gratitude

An investigation into sports clubs’ ‘fan tokens’ from The Athletic uncovered small print associated with the digital assets which may disappoint loyal fans – and undermine the value of the tokens themselves.

The piece, which explored the nature of digital tokens created by fan engagement firm Socios, found that many clubs offer the assets to fans under the promise the items will “never expire”, and will last “forever”.

However, the voting rights associated with the tokens – allowing fans to have a say in how their favourite club is run – will become invalid when the club’s contract with Socios expires, at which point the tokens will become nothing more than “digital collectibles” whose value is, presumably, whatever a potential buyer would be willing to pay for them.

Additionally, the value of the tokens has already seen wild fluctuation of the kind we have come to expect from cryptocurrency markets, leaving less savvy buyers open to all kinds of risk regarding the value of their collectibles.

“An Arsenal token, for example, has lost about 60 per cent of its value in the past six months, while Manchester City, PSG and Juventus tokens have plunged by around half,” the piece pointed out.

So, innocent digital memorabilia, or another pump and dump scheme being exploited by experienced traders? You decide.

God save the screen

The Independent elucidated a report from the Gambling Commission earlier this week, as it pointed out that the rate of online gambling in the UK is now at its highest ever level, with around one in four Britons taking to the internet to place bets.

“Figures released on Tuesday said 25.7% of 4,018 people aged 16 or over surveyed had gambled online in the past four weeks, up from 23.8% over the same period in the previous year and up from 18.5% in the previous five years,” the piece explained.

However, when looking at gambling across the board, some 43% of respondents said they had gambled in the prior four-week period, compared to pre-pandemic participation rates of 47% in March 2020.

The report held some good news for the land-based sector, though, with in-person gambling rates up 3% compared to last year, driven by a return to in-person bingo, sports betting, horse racing, and fruit and slot machines in land-based venues.

The UK Addiction Treatment Group (UKAT) took the statistics as further proof of the need for gambling reform in the UK.

“Online gambling in particular is dangerous as it is too easy and discreet to participate in,” said UKAT consultant treatment lead Nuno Albuquerque. 

“We join the chorus of voices who say that this country’s gambling laws are in urgent need of reform. Bigger conversations are necessary especially around affordability checks and a complete ban of gambling advertisements.

“We believe the Government’s white paper is in its final stages and we are keen to see what comes of it.”

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