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ASA Finds Companies Targeting Kids with Betting Ads

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Britain’s advertising watchdog found five companies targeting kids with online betting ads. The regulator has strict rules and has asked companies not to target kids. One of the company is Aston Villa’s sponsor Unibet and Vikings Video Slot.

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) used Child ‘avatar’ to identify the kind of ads appear. The simulation model replicated online web browsing habits of children.

As a result, the regulator found ads shown by 43 operators on online outlets. This included about 24 kids focused on portals and 20 YouTube channels. These gambling firms included PlayOjo, Redbet, Multilotto, Vikings Video Slot, and Unibet.

The ad regulator believes that these companies have broken advertising code in the country. The UK advertising code does not allow gambling ads shown to children aged below 18 years. The ad watchdog found as many as 23 gambling ads appearing in 11 of the websites monitored by it.

These ads appeared more than 150 times in these portals. Yet, no ads from the five brands were able to find its way on YouTube channels. The biggest offender was none other than Vikings Video Slot. That is because close to 50% of ads were from its staple. Same way, their ads appeared 122 times or 80% of total gambling ads.

The companies involved did agree that it was a mistake. But, most of them blamed it on third-party firms managing their campaigns on the portals. Among the high-profile brand, Kindred Group-owned Unibet got caught red-handed. The promoter also manages other popular brands like 32Red. During the last season, Unibet was the main sponsor for a kit of the Aston Villa football team.

Unibet currently sponsors a training kit for the football team. The company is the first to partner with Warwickshire County Cricket Club. 

The ad watchdog is looking to look for ads on popular sites like Twitter or Instagram or Facebook as well. ASA CEO, Guy Parker stated that online ads are under the strict code that is applicable in other types.

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