British TV network ITV has received major criticism over betting advertisements it aired during the recent 2018 World Cup. The network has been accused of bombarding viewers, including children, with countless gambling adverts.

World CupOf all the advertisements aired by ITV during the course of the tournament, it is reported that 17% of them were gambling related. It reveals that, of the eight and a half hours of advertisements aired during this period close to an hour and a half was taken up by betting adverts.

A total of 172 ads related to betting were shown, twice as many as those related to alcohol and four times as many as those related to fast-food brands. ITV’s World Cup coverage has greatly been criticized due to the fact that children and young people made up a significant percentage of the viewers during the tournament. Many are worried about the effects of exposing children to such an excessive amount of gambling content with some fearing that children will now normalize betting and associate it with football and sports in large.

Children are normally protected from such content by laws which restrict the airing of betting advertisements during the watershed period. Most of the World Cup games were shown on TV before 9 pm, falling well within the watershed period. They were, however, allowed to be aired because the law does not restrict advertising during live sporting events. Betting firms saw this as an opportunity to increase their already enormous profits and splurged on advertisement spots, with some paying close to £350,000 for a 30-second spot.

Betting firms encouraged viewers to place bets on ongoing and upcoming World Cup matches. Some even used celebrities to further entice viewers to engage in gambling activities. This led to an increase in bets placed as people who had never gambled suddenly felt the urge to do so. There was an upsurge in women gamblers, rising from 10% in the 2014 World Cup to 30% of all gamblers in this World Cup. It is evident that the exposure worked in the favor of bookmakers and gambling firms. There has been a call for stricter regulations moving forward.

The government has also come under fire for not doing enough to protect children from unnecessary exposure to gambling advertisements. These ads saturated the network during the tournament and the government chose to ignore the issue rather than tackle it head-on. The government, in turn, claims there is insufficient research available to warrant tighter regulations.

The negative effects of betting ads have been discussed heavily. Children and young people are frequently exposed to betting advertisements not only on television but also on social media and through video games. As a result, gambling has become normal and commonplace for them. An activity that was once reserved for adults is becoming increasingly popular among young people. This is a worrying trend as gambling is extremely addictive and detrimental, both financially and psychologically.

As suggested by the government, more research into the matter is indeed needed in order to expose the true and very real dangers of gambling. Gamble Aware, a charity organization focused on gambling addiction, is currently running a study on the effects of gambling advertisements that will help promote tighter regulations. The study, which is set to be completed in 2019, will also provide information that can be used to educate the youth on gambling and help create treatment plans for those with a gambling addiction.

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has taken action by banning gambling sites and advertisements that are intended to target children. While this tough position is appreciated, the World Cup has revealed just how significant and wide-spread the gambling issue is.

Gamble Aware has reported that there are over 400,000 individuals in the UK alone struggling with a gambling problem. This number is only expected to rise if nothing is done as more children will be exposed to gambling ads and enticed to join the risky world of gambling.


On July 10, 2018, The United Kingdom Gambling Commission (UKGC) published a ground-breaking approach to understanding the extent of harm that gambling could have caused on the society and its members.

Gambling CommissionThe investigations and authoring of the report were led by Dr. Heather Wardle, who represented the Responsible Gambling Strategy Board (RGSB) – a gambling regulatory body in the country. Publication of the report follows coordination and collaboration of efforts among UKGC, RGSB, and GambleAware – which funded the initiative.

Gambling has been touted to cause social, financial, and health problems among the people directly involved and even their family members. However, there lacks a scientific and verifiable measure to ascertain the level of damage. The approach seeks to measure the harm caused by gambling on the society.

The report is a major stride into the development of a causal relationship between social challenges and gambling. It calls for views, from the general public, on ways that can be used in measuring and better understanding the social cost that results in the likely harm caused by gambling.

The opinions that will be received from the call and effort of the team will guide the mapping out of a methodology that will henceforth be used in quantifying the impacts of gambling of finances, health, and relationships. In line with that goal, UKGC, RGSB, and GambleAware intend to develop a standard definition of gambling-related harm that can be used by stakeholders such as public health officials, lawmakers, and policymakers. The report acknowledges that the impacts of gambling could be short-lived while in other instances, they could last longer and spread to family members and even the society. Having an agreed upon definition will allow a common view and understanding of the problem.

UKGC’s report is also seeking to make the economic and social impacts of gambling-related harms measurable, easy to monitor, and better understood. It acknowledges that the society today lacks a defined way of determining whether social and economic problems affecting a person are associated with their gambling habit.

The team also intends to use the information gathered, from their research and opinions from other players, to develop a framework for action that will enable individuals, their families, and communities better understand the impacts of gambling-related harm. The report is seeking to have a more responsive British society that will be alive to the challenges that gambling is having on them.

UKGC and RGSB are committed to coming up with the most effective way that will be used in measuring social and economic costs of gambling-afflicted harm going forward. When unveiling the approach, Gambling Commission’s Chief Executive Officer, Neil McArthur said that their efforts were only ground-breaking and more needed to be done to realize their goal. He indicated the willingness of the commission to support public health officials, the gambling industry, and the public work together in raising opinions so that a framework for prevention is realized.

McArthur also said that while a majority of gamblers do not suffer the negative consequences, the commission, as a gambling watchdog, could not hide from the fact that possible detrimental effects are affecting a significant number of locals, families, and communities.

The report’s lead author, Dr. Wardl, described it as a major step in understanding gambling and the harm it can have on the society. She expressed optimism in the process as stakeholders had already made the first step of recognizing that gambling can affect more people in the family, community, and society.

Marc Etches, the Chief Executive Officer at Gamble Aware emphasized that gambling is a public health issue. “We need urgently to improve our understanding of what gambling, and its wide-reaching knock-on effects, is costing us,” he said.


The Responsible Gambling Strategy Board (RGSB) has recently conducted a study focusing on the gambling problem that is continuously affecting our young generation, especially the teenagers.

Gambling ProblemGamble Aware, which is an industry charity has strongly supported this move, saying it could help in saving our children from falling victims to this dangerous trap known as betting. The RGSB has now informed government stakeholders as well as the UKGC on the exposure of young persons to gamble. The personal safety of these young individuals could also be compromised.

The RGSB has tabled a series of recommendations for the industry stakeholders and the government. This is to initiate the drive of implementing a stronger verification process for the players, cooperate in collecting the under 18 data regularly, as well as reducing marketing exposure to the youngsters.

The RGSB has now released its findings on child gambling, and at the same time, Gamble Aware has heightened its preparedness in launching a campaign for safer gambling all over the United Kingdom. This is being done with the main purpose to raise awareness of the problems associated with gambling, and enlighten the public of the health hazards of gambling and other harms that relate to the same. The RGSB has detailed that the number of children (mostly the teens) affected the gambling are in excess of 35,000. Furthermore, there could be more than 50,000 children at the teenage level who could be at the risk of falling into this trap.

According to Gamble Aware, through the remarks of Chief Executive Marc Etches, fighting gambling-related problems require firm regulatory action. He said that there is a great concern for our children as for every 10 teenagers, one is a regular gambler. He also welcomed the focus that the Gambling Commission has put into this issue, so as to protect the children from being brainwashed by this problem early in life.

Marc Etches suggests that if a real and long-lasting impact has to be made, stern action is then required from parents, teachers and other family members. For this to succeed, it’s a dire need to heighten public debate about the position and role of gambling in the society, as well as what best can be done to protect young people and children from being harmed by gambling addiction. The gambling commission, in turn, notes that, a lot of support is required from a wide range of government departments and other influential agencies because it has been recognized that harms related to gambling are health issues and requires the full attention of everyone.