The UK Gambling Commission has ordered bingo, slot and casino sites to stop running slot game adverts that could be aimed at minors, effective immediately.
This change will prevent sites from advertising popular slot games like Eyecon’s Fluffy Favourites to non-registered players.
However, these games will still be available to players who are registered and logged in, as they will have proved they are legally able to play via registration.
In the past few weeks, the industry has come under fire from national newspapers like The Sunday Times for advertising cartoon-centric games which might appeal to children, with Fluffy Too and Jack and the Beanstalk specifically cited as problematic.
As a result, the UK Gambling Commission has sent a letter to operators, telling them they must stop advertising these games with immediate effect. According to the UKGC’s definition, an ad is problematic if it “appeals more to under 18s than to over 18s”.
In an earlier address of the Sunday Times story (published October 8th, 2017 under the headline “Cartoons lure kids to online gambling”), Tim Miller, Executive Director for Corporate Affairs and Research at the UKGC, said: “Protecting children from being harmed or exploited by gambling is a clear priority for the Gambling Commission. Our rules require strong age verification checks to prevent underage gambling.”
He also noted that the UKGC would “continue to take firm action” against operators who were deemed to be neglecting their responsibilities.
While operators who are actively targeting children through adverts should rightfully be punished, it is also worth noting that the industry does have a variety of safeguards in place to prevent minors from gambling, and these are fully regulated by the Gambling Commission themselves.
Despite this, it is reported that some 450,000 minors are involved in gambling in the UK, and if these measures help cut down that number, the changes should be welcomed by the whole industry.
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