Date: 03.06.2024

by Adam Dworak

Significant Decline in Children’s Exposure to Gambling Ads in the UK

The latest report from the UK’s Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has revealed a substantial decline in children’s exposure to gambling advertisements on television over the past years. The study, focusing on viewers under the age of 16, shows a 40% decrease in the number of gambling ads seen by this age group since 2010.

Key Findings of the ASA Report

Specifically, the average number of gambling ads viewed per week by children has dropped from 3.0 in 2010 to 1.8 in 2023. The ASA’s findings also highlight regional differences across the UK. In 2023, children in England experienced the lowest exposure to gambling ads, averaging 1.7 per week, while those in Scotland had the highest, with 2.3 ads per week.

The ASA attributes this decline in part to changing media habits among young audiences, highlighting that children’s exposure to all TV advertisements is also decreasing. Between 2010 and 2023, children’s exposure to all TV ads fell by approximately 75%.

ASA stated: “While the continued decline in children’s exposure to age-restricted TV ads is encouraging, we know that a lot of that is down to changing media habits, which is why we are also continuing to conduct specific project work looking at what ads they are seeing online.”

“Projects like Exposure Reports, our proactive monitoring sweeps using world-leading Avatar technology, and the cutting-edge 100 Children Report, help us ensure that our regulation is thorough and effective in providing appropriate protections for children.”

Broader Decline in TV Advertisement Exposure

In addition to gambling ads, the report highlights a broader decline in children’s exposure to all types of television advertisements. Between 2010 and 2023, children’s overall exposure to TV ads decreased significantly, from an average of 226.7 ads per week to just 58.2 ads per week. This general reduction reflects a wider trend in viewing habits and regulatory impact.

The report also notes a significant decrease in children’s exposure to alcohol and high-fat, salt, and sugar (HFSS) product advertisements. Since 2010, exposure to alcohol ads has fallen by 80%, from 3.2 ads per week to 0.7 ads per week in 2023. Similarly, exposure to HFSS product ads has decreased by two-thirds since 2016.

The Impact of Changing Media Consumption

The findings underscore a broader shift in media consumption among young audiences. With the rise of digital and on-demand content, traditional television viewership has declined, leading to reduced exposure to TV ads. This trend has significant implications for advertisers and regulators alike, as it necessitates a reevaluation of how advertising content is delivered and monitored.

The ASA’s proactive approach, including the use of advanced technologies like Avatar monitoring, plays a crucial role in adapting to these changes. By leveraging these tools, the ASA can better understand the advertising landscape and ensure that regulations keep pace with evolving media habits.

As media consumption continues to shift, it will be important for regulatory bodies to stay ahead of the curve. This may involve further innovations in monitoring and a continued focus on protecting vulnerable audiences from potentially harmful content. The ASA’s efforts serve as a model for how technology and regulation can work together to create a safer media environment for children.