Bookmakers Accused of Using Story Book Characters To Lure Children Into Gambling
As we have reported in the last few months, the UK gambling Commission is showing it teeth and going after operators who breach regulations. The latest issue to come up is that of gambling operators being accused of deliberately targeting children with well-known cartoon characters in online betting games. Some of the largest online operators in the UK like 888 are being accused of violating Gambling Commission rules.
In a Sunday Times investigation, it was found that many games can be played and accessed by children without having to register or perform any age checks.
888 with their Jack and the Beanstalk was mentioned along with Moon Princess on the Casinoland website. Paddy Power was also mentioned with their Peter Pan game.
A dossier from the Sunday Times looking into 30 games was passed on to the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) by the Gambling Commission for investigation. According to the Gambling Commission over 450, 000 children have been able to gamble in England and Wales every week. Even more worrying is that 3 percent have used their own funds.
Politicians are under fire to crack down on gambling operators, Shadow culture secretary Tom Watson did not mince his words when it came to operators. He said,” This loophole is ruthlessly exploited by irresponsible bookies and it’s one that urgently needs closing.
“The Gambling Commission should act now to extend the current ban on targeting games at children to online products. Betting companies need to acknowledge the harm they are doing by cynically targeting children online and remove these games, many of which can be played for ‘fun’ and without age verification, from their sites.”
In response to this criticism CEO of the Remote Gambling Association, Clive Hawkswood was adamant that gambling operators were not deliberately targeting children and would support a review of the Gambling Commission code that would enforce regulations against appealing to kids online.