Gambling advertising is subject to strict controls on content and placement which mean that it must never be targeted at children or seek to appeal directly to them. The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) is currently consulting on proposals to strengthen rules on content further to minimise the possibility of gambling ads appealing to children. In 2019 the Gambling Industry Code for Socially Responsible Advertising was amended to include a whistle-to-whistle ban on betting adverts being shown during live sport, including football, before the 9pm watershed.
The government does not hold figures on the number of children who see gambling advertising while watching football. However, the Gambling Commission’s 2019 Young People and Gambling Survey found that 50% of 11-16 year olds had seen or heard gambling adverts linked to a sports event. In addition, the ASA has published data on children’s exposure to gambling advertising on TV. During 2019, the last full year for which there is available data, children saw an average of 0.3 sports betting ads per week, down from 0.7 in 2018. Figures published by the gambling industry indicate that children’s exposure to gambling advertising during live sport has fallen by 70% since the introduction of the whistle-to-whistle ban.