Gambling companies do not promote safe play, research says
New research from Northumbria University says companies’ Twitter pages do not stand up to the scrutiny. Here’s why.
A group of researchers from Northumbria University took a look at Twitter accounts of the UK’s largest companies. They have seen over 8,000 tweets during the two weeks of research.
The researchs encompassed both the companies themselves and their affiliates, the people who promote these companies.
The findings were less than promising. Only 2% of all posts were promoting safe gambling. The rest were advertising or gambling-related content.
The problem with gambling
Gambling isn’t bad in and of itself. The problem with gambling is that sometimes people can be susceptible to become addicted to it.
Just like with alcohol, the substance may be neutral in its nature, but people who have problems in their life are drawn to it. Many people see gambling or alcohol as the solution to their problems, the ultimate escapism.
The numbers of problem gamblers are far from being alarming, but any harm is bad. Especially so if it’s directed towards the children.
UKGC statistics show that while almost half of UK’s population gambles at least once a month, there is a minority of kids who are at risk. 0.7% of Brits who are under 16 have a gambling problem.
The prevention measures
You may think that greedy gambling companies are making everything they can to lure those at risk in. However, this can’t be farther from the truth.
In fact, after the joint UKGC and ASA report went public, many companies said they will be dropping harmful practices. Before that, most companies agreed to follow the new rulebook of betting ads. It states that if a website or an influencer has more than a quarter minors amongst the followers, they are barred from doing gambling ads.
This is an optimal solution with gambling companies making money fairly, and children being out of the risk zone.
The fact is hard to debate. We went to the official Ladbrokes Twitter page and were hard pressed to find any post promoting safe gambling. But is it the responsibility of a company’s Twitter page to do so?
This very company is an active member of half a dozen NGOs that promote problem gambling awareness. They’re mentioned on Ladbrokes’ website, and the company donates to them without a doubt.
Their Twitter page is mainly sports commentary and news about the latest games. It rarely entices people to play, so why would they make every other post promote safe gambling?
The company clearly states that its subscribers should be of age. The problem is that this will not stop anyone who wants to subscribe.
Malicious or unfortunate?
The bottom line is this. There’s only so much you can do to help problem gamblers. Many of the companies this research investigated are already doing their best.
The fact that they don’t talk about safe gambling on Twitter isn’t malicious, it’s just unfortunate.