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Recent surveys have suggested that in the UK, the average age a child obtains their very first smartphone by the tender age of seven. Due to the exponential developments of smartphone technology, this means that online gambling is now available through just the click of a button on your phone.

The consequence of this is that children are exposed to app game marketing in a way that was previously impossible. So what is being done in the UK to tackle underage gambling, or encouraging the interest of getting involved in it? We decided to take a closer look. 

The issue of underage gambling 

According to a report conducted and published by the Gambling Commission:

  •  Around 12% of 11-16 year olds in the UK have followed a gambling business on a social media channel
  •  Approximately 13% of 11-16 year olds in the country have played a game involving gambling aspects
  •  Boys have double the chance of girls of being affected by gambling

New regulations

In 2018, new regulations came into force in the UK, specifically aimed at the iGaming industry. The main purpose of these enforced regulations were to tackle head on certain types of advertisements or games that could lead to underage gambling.  However, what exactly have these regulations enforced when it comes to underage gambling? 

Banning pop culture centred games

It is now illegal for gambling providers of online casino games to create games that are thematically centered on pop culture. This is because typically, pop culture related games tend to attract a younger audience. 

“Popular games using on slots and pokies sites include Indiana Jones but modern games also show characters from gameshows like I’m a Celebrity, Ant and Dec, The Chase and even characters from Family Guy”, according to

Stricter marketing regulations

It was also not be possible for online gambling companies to market any online games or apps that have gambling components in them to those under the age of 18. 

Is the problem of underage gambling being challenged enough?

Whilst regulations put in place to tackle underage gambling online is a step in the right direction, it is arguably not enough. For example, statistics have shown that it is in fact traditional pub slots and bookers that are most used by underage gamblers as opposed to accessing online casino games. In another report by the gambling industry regulator, the Gambling Commission it was revealed that up to a staggering nine out of ten British pubs across the UK fail to adequately tackle the prevalence of underage gambling in their premises.

As a result of this data, the Commission has written to a number of pub trade associations to sort out this problem. What actually happens in the future regarding this issue remains to be seen.

The UK’s attempt to challenge underage gambling
Digital Mag

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