August 14, 2023 3 min read

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Concerns Grow as Gambling Ads Penetrate FPL Community

Experts believe that focusing on the FPL community might be a way for the gambling industry to gain new, young customers, taking advantage of the game's popularity and engaged fan base

The world of online gambling has set its sights on the avid players of Fantasy Premier League (FPL), a virtual football game with a significant following among children and young adults.

Gambling Advertisements Infiltrate FPL Podcasts and Platforms

According to a recent investigation by the BBC, gambling advertisements and promotions have found their way onto popular FPL-related podcasts, websites, and social media platforms. A notable podcast, “The FPL Wire“, made a swift decision to remove gambling ads from its content following the exposure of this practice. Specifically, the podcast had been featuring promotions for Fairplay Exchange, an enterprise that facilitates personal bets between individuals.

In response to the article, the podcast clarified that it had neither accepted nor intended to accept any compensation for its association with Fairplay Exchange. FPL General, a content creator associated with the podcast, asserted that he had no control over the advertising decisions and was simply making a guest appearance on the show.

FPL is an online game where participants select real-world football players to compose their dream teams, earning points based on their actual performances. This game, run by the Premier League, features both a global leaderboard and private leagues for friendly competitions. While the game is open to individuals over 13, those below that age require parental consent to participate.

Industry’s Push into FPL Raises Alarms, Calls for Regulation Grow

The gambling industry’s targeting of FPL players has ignited concerns among experts and officials. Carolyn Harris MP, who chairs the All Party Parliamentary Group for Gambling Related Harm, expressed deep concern over the industry’s efforts to infiltrate platforms used by children. The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) guidelines require gambling ads to avoid strongly appealing to persons under the age of 18 and to refrain from being linked with youth culture. Such restrictions are also included in the provisions of the Gambling Act White Paper.

Independent FPL platforms such as Fantasy Football Scout have also not escaped this trend. The website carried promotional articles for Bet365, promoting a fantasy football-themed game with a substantial prize pool of £500,000.

As the industry’s involvement raises alarms, Fantasy Football Fix, a prominent independent FPL website, has implemented a no-gambling-ads policy. However, it has previously collaborated with betting companies, offering users free access to premium content in exchange for opening betting accounts.
Experts suggest that this targeting of the FPL community could be a strategy to acquire the next generation of gambling customers. The FPL ecosystem, with its broad appeal and dedicated following, offers fertile ground for the industry’s expansion.

At the same time, ASA has released a follow-up to its 100 Children Report, noting advertisers’ improved efforts to prevent online gambling ads from reaching children. The report observed positive steps taken by advertisers to align with the ASA’s guidance on targeting age-restricted ads online, particularly in relation to gambling and liquor ads.

Author

Silvia has dabbled in all sorts of writing – from content writing for social media to movie scripts. She has a Bachelor's in Screenwriting and experience in marketing and producing documentary films. With her background as a customer support agent within the gambling industry, she brings valuable insight to the Gambling News writers’ team.

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