UK online gambling operators are under fire for the last couple of weeks. During the recent consultations about the updates to the UK gambling regulations, the UK Gambling Commission asked for the authority to punish UK casino sites, bookmakers, and other gambling operators that breach the Advertising Standards Agency (ASA) guidelines with their gambling ads.
Less than a week after that proposition, four gambling operators are under investigation by ASA for featuring and promoting children-friendly games on their websites. To make things worse, all four are famous UK operators with sponsorship deals with the UK football clubs. The four being Fun88 (Newcastle United), M88 (Bournemouth), 138 (Watford), and Letou (Swansea).
According to the UK gambling laws, no gambling commercial can feature characters or content that underage children may find appealing. And the four in question have done just that. These operators are promoting real money gambling games with cartoon characters. They are using cartoonish visuals and fairy-tale setting, which some kids may find interesting and decide to try these games. The worst part, these games require just an age verification, after which you can play them for free.
Some people are saying that there is no harm if children can’t spend actual money. However, it’s a well-known fact that money is not the only factor that creates gambling addiction. Even if a kid doesn’t spend a single penny on these games, they can still develop a gambling habit. And once they are old enough to gamble with real money that could become a huge problem.
It’s still unknown what’s going to happen with these operators and what punishment they are going to receive (if any). With how the UK gambling laws are now, the ASA has no authority to fine these operators. However, if the Gambling Commission passes the new proposal that could quickly change.